Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Some say you can’t decorate it, others see it as a form of political protest. A fact is that the Separation Wall, with a total length of some 760 km, offers an ideal outlet for activists, street artists, tourists, and locals to express themselves. The British guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy used the grey and concrete wall built by Israel through the West Bank as a canvas to give free reign to his thoughts.
Palestine Monitor’s photojournalist FLV explored the wall in two sites, Qalandiya (Ramallah) and Bethlehem. His images show how graffiti can be a tool of expression, somewhere between art and political engagement.
The anonymous Banksy once told a reporter from the English newspaper The Guardian, that the wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison. And with some sense of humor he added: "It also makes it the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers." In contrast to Banksy, Suliman Mansour, one of the leading Palestinian artists, thinks that artists shouldn’t work on the wall, because, he said, '’In some way, they become attached to their work and won’t want the wall to come down." What’s certain, Banksy’s work has invigorated an interesting debate about artwork on the wall…
A Sign From Gaza
Reflections Of Fidel
There is no alternative but to call things by their name. Anyone with minimal commonsense can observe without much effort how little realism remains in the current world.
When United States President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Michael Moore stated "Now please earn it!" That witty comment pleased a lot of people for its acuity, although the Norwegian committee’s decision was perceived by many as no more than demagogy and an exaltation of the apparently inoffensive politicking of the new president of the United States, an African American, a good speaker and an intelligent politician at the head of a powerful empire enveloped in profound economic crisis.
The Copenhagen world meeting was about to take place and Obama raised hopes of a binding agreement in which the United States would join a world consensus in order to avoid the ecological disaster that is threatening the human species. What occurred there was disappointing; international world public opinion had been the victim of a painful deception.
In the recent People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place in Bolivia, responses full of wisdom were put forward by the ancient indigenous nationalities, invaded and virtually destroyed by European conquistadores who, in their search for gold and easy riches, imposed over the centuries their egotistic cultures, incompatible with humanity’s most sacred interests.
Two news items that arrived yesterday express the philosophy of the empire in its attempt to make us believe in its "democratic", "pacific," "altruistic" and "honest" nature. Suffice it to read the text of those agency cables from the capital of the United States.
WASHINGTON , April 23, 2010—"The Obama administration is considering deploying a new group of intercontinental ballistic weapons that could deliver large conventional warheads, non-nuclear but capable of reaching targets anywhere in the world in approximately one hour and with a extremely powerful explosive capacity.
"While the new super-bomb, mounted on Minuteman missiles, will not have nuclear warheads, its destructive capacity will be equivalent, as confirmed by the fact that its deployment is anticipated in the recently signed START 2 agreement with Russia.
"The Moscow authorities demanded and succeeded in having inserted in the agreement, a provision demanding the United States decommission one nuclear missile for every missile it deploys.
"According to reports in The New York Times and on CBS News, the new weapon, baptized PGS (Prompt Global Strike), could carry out tasks like killing terrorist Osama bin Laden in a cave, destroying a North Korean missile as it is being transported to the launch pad, or demolishing an Iranian nuclear site - all without using nuclear bombs.
"The advantage of having a non-nuclear weapon with the same localized impact effects of a nuclear bomb is considered interesting by the Obama government.
"The project was initially proposed by Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, but was blocked by Moscow’s protests. Bearing in mind that the Minuteman also transport nuclear warheads, the Moscow authorities said, it would be impossible to establish that the deployment of a PGS was not the beginning of a nuclear attack.
"But Obama’s government considers that it can give Russia or China the necessary guarantees to avoid misunderstandings. The launch facilities of the new weapon will be mounted in sites at a distance from nuclear warhead deposits and will be open to periodic inspection by Moscow or Beijing experts.
"The Prompt Global Strike warhead would be launched on Minuteman missiles armed with 1,000-lb. conventional warheads, designed to strike targets with incredible accuracy.
"Responsibility for the PGS project – which is estimated to cost $250 million just in the first year of experimentation – has been handed to General Kevin Chilton, chief of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Chilton explained that the PGS will fill a gap in the Pentagon’s current range of options.
"‘Today, we can present some conventional options to the president to strike a target anywhere on the globe, but within a time span of at least four hours,’ said the general. ‘To act on a particular target faster than that, the only thing we have is a nuclear response.’"
"In the future, with the new missile, the United States could act rapidly and with conventional resources, both against a terrorist group or an enemy country, in a much shorter time period and without arousing international anger at the use of nuclear weapons.
"It is anticipated that the first tests will begin in 2014, and that by 2017 it would be available in the U.S. arsenal. Obama will no longer be in power, but the super-missile could be the non-nuclear legacy of this president, who has already won the Nobel Peace Prize."
"WASHINGTON, April 22, 2010—An unmanned Air Force space plane was launched this Thursday from Florida, in the midst of a veil of secrecy over its military mission.
"The rocket carrying the reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle lifted off at 7:52 p.m. EDT (2352 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to a video distributed by the army.’
"‘The launch is imminent,’ Air Force Major Angie Blair told AFP.
"Resembling a small space shuttle, the aircraft is 8.9 meters in length and 4.5 in wingspan.
"The manufacture of the reusable space shuttle has taken years and the army has only offered vague explanations as to its objective or role in the military arsenal.
"The vehicle is designed to ‘provide the environment of a ‘laboratory in space’ to test new technologies and components before these technologies are assigned to satellite programs in operation,’ stated the Air Force in a recent communiqué.
"Officials have stated that the X-37B will land at the Air Force Vandenberg Base in California, but they did not say how long the inaugural mission will last. ‘
"‘To be honest, we don’t know when it’s going to come back,’ Gary Payton, second assistant secretary of Air Force space programs, told reporters this week.
"Payton stated that the shuttle could remain in space for up to nine months.
"The aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, began as a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project in 1999 and was then transferred to the Air Force, which plans to launch a second X-37B in 2011."
Is anything more needed?
Today they have found themselves with a colossal obstacle: the now uncontainable climate change. The inevitable temperature increase of more than two degrees centigrade is being mentioned. Its consequences will be catastrophic. In just 40 years the world population will increase by two million, thus reaching a total of nine billion people; in that brief period: docks, hotels, seaside resorts, communications, industries and installations in the vicinity of ports will be submerged in less time than is required for the enjoyment of half of the existence of the generation of one developed and rich country, which is currently refusing to make the most minimum sacrifice to preserve the survival of the human species. Agricultural land and potable water will be considerably reduced. The seas will become polluted; many marine species will become impossible to consume and others will disappear. This is not affirmed by logic but by scientific investigations.
Via natural genetics and the transfer of varieties of species from one continent to another, human beings succeeded in increasing production per hectare of food and other products useful to humans which, for some time, alleviated the scarcity of foodstuffs like corn, potato, wheat, fibers and other necessary produce. Later, genetic manipulation and the use of chemical fertilizers similarly contributed to the solution of vital needs, but they are now reaching the limit of their possibilities for producing healthy food appropriate for consumption. On the other hand, in barely two centuries, hydrocarbon resources that nature took 400 million years to form are being exhausted. In the same way, vital non-renewable mineral resources that the world economy requires are being exhausted. At the same time, science created the capacity of self-destroying the planet several times in a matter of hours. The greatest contradiction in our era is, precisely, the capacity of the species to destroy itself and its incapacity to govern itself.
Human beings have succeeded in raising their possibilities of life to limits that exceed their own survival capacity. In that battle raw materials in their reach are being consumed at an accelerated rate. Science made it possible to convert matter into energy, as occurred with nuclear reaction, at the cost of enormous investments, but the viability of converting energy into matter is not even on the horizon. The infinite cost of investment in pertinent investigations is demonstrating the impossibility of achieving in a few dozen years what the universe took tens of billions of years to create. Is it necessary for the child prodigy Barack Obama to explain that to us? Science has grown extraordinarily, but ignorance and poverty are also growing. Can anyone demonstrate the contrary?
Fidel Castro Ruz
April 25, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The United States is the only country in the world that claims to be superior in every aspect, especially in human rights, and that lie is again exposed, this time by a report from China on the United States, all from US sources. The US is in fact a backward cesspool, the most backward country in the industrialized world.
Human Rights Record of the United States
The Chinese report quite legitimately notes that the US government “releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices year after year to accuse other countries, and takes human rights as a political instrument to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests. This fully exposes its double standards on the human rights issue…”
Delivering the US government a well-deserved dose of its own medicine does not, of course, absolve the Chinese regime of its own gross violations of human rights. It rules autocratically over 1.3 billion people, most of them desperately poor peasants and super-exploited workers.
That being said, the Chinese report is an eye-opening document—factual, sober, even understated, drawn entirely from public government and media sources in the United States, with each item carefully documented. It presents a picture of 21st century America as much of the world sees it, one which is in sharp contrast to the official mythology and American media propaganda.
Not surprisingly, the report went unmentioned in the US mass media.
The 14-page report is divided into six major sections: Life, Property and Personal Security; Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Racial Discrimination; Rights of Women and Children; US Violations of Human Rights Against Other Nations. The cumulative picture is one of a society in deep and worsening social crisis.
A few of the facts and figures cited on violence and police repression in the United States:
• Each year, 30,000 people die in gun-related incidents.
• There were 14,180 murders last year.
• In the first ten months of 2009, 45 people were killed by police use of tasers, bringing the total for the decade to 389.
• Last year, 315 police officers in New York City were subject to internal supervision due to “unrestrained use of violence.”
• 7.3 million Americans were under the authority of the correctional system, more than in any other country.
• An estimated 60,000 prisoners were raped while in custody last year.
On democratic rights, the report notes the pervasive government spying on citizens, authorized under the 2001 Patriot Act, extensive surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, and police harassment of anti-globalization demonstrators in Pittsburgh during last year’s G-20 summit. Pointing to the hypocrisy of US government “human rights” rhetoric, the authors observe, “the same conduct in other countries would be called human rights violations, whereas in the United States it was called necessary crime control.”
The report only skims the surface on the socioeconomic crisis in the United States, noting record levels of unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness, as well as 46.3 million people without health insurance. It does offer a few facts rarely discussed in the US media:
• 712 bodies were cremated at public expense in the city of Los Angeles last year, because the families were too poor to pay for a burial.
• There were 5,657 workplace deaths recorded in 2007, the last year for which a tally is available, a rate of 17 deaths per day (not a single employer was criminally charged for any of these deaths).
• Some 2,266 veterans died as a consequence of lack of health insurance in 2008, 14 times the military death toll in Afghanistan that year.
The report presents evidence of pervasive racial discrimination against blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, the most oppressed sections of the US working class, including a record number of racial discrimination claims over hiring practices, more than 32,000. It also notes the rising number of incidents of discrimination or violence against Muslims, and the detention of 300,000 “illegal” immigrants each year, with more than 30,000 immigrants in US detention facilities every day of the year.
It notes that the state of California imposed life sentences on 18 times more black defendants than white, and that in 2008, when New York City police fired their weapons, 75 percent of the targets were black, 22 percent Hispanic and only 3 percent white.
The report refers to the well-known reality of unequal pay for women, with median female income only 77 percent that of male income in 2008, down from 78 percent in 2007. According to the report, 70 percent of working-age women have no health insurance, or inadequate coverage, high medical bills or high health-related debt.
Children bear a disproportionate burden of economic hardship, with 16.7 million children not having enough food at some time during 2008, and 3.5 million children under five facing hunger or malnutrition, 17 percent of the total. Child hunger is combined with the malignant phenomenon of rampant child labor in agriculture: some 400,000 child farm workers pick America’s crops. The US also leads the world in imprisoning children and juveniles, and is the only country that does not offer parole to juvenile offenders.
US foreign policy comes in for justifiable criticism as well. A country with so many poor and hungry people accounts for 42 percent of the world’s total military spending, a colossal $607 billion, as well as the world’s largest foreign arms sales, $37.8 billion in 2008, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year.
The Chinese report notes the documented torture of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the worldwide US network of military bases, the US blockade of Cuba (opposed by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 187 to 3), and the systematic US spying around the world, utilizing the NSA’s “ECHELON” interception system, as well as the US monopoly control over Internet route servers.
The report also points out the deliberate US flouting of international human rights covenants. Washington has either signed but not ratified or refused to sign four major UN covenants: on economic, social and cultural rights; on the rights of women; on the rights of people with disabilities; and on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The report does not discuss the source of the malignant social conditions in the United States—nor should that be expected, since that would require an explanation of the causal connection between poverty, repression and discrimination and the operations of the capitalist profit system, something that Beijing is hardly likely to undertake.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The CIA Hit List:
Muslim Men to be Murdered as “Threats to the US”
By J.B Gerald
Against the Killing of Anwar al-Aulaqi
You delight in laying down laws
Yet you delight more in breaking them
"The CIA Hit List" is a media term for selected Muslim men to be murdered as threats to the United States. As President, Bush used the phrase for his list of "terrorist" suspects when the policy was first made public mid-December 2002. Names on the "hit list" surface, then recede so it is hard to be sure who is current.
The Bush announcement, aware of prohibitions against assassinations in the executive orders of former presidents, designated the suspects as "enemy combatants" to avoid a direct confrontation with the laws of war (LOW) aka laws of armed conflicts (LOAC), which are binding on the U.S.Media reports of Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee February 3, 2010, make no mention of "enemy combatants" when he reserves the right to include American citizens as targets for murder. Then on April 6, 2010 a spokesman for the intelligence community announced that Anwar al-Aulaqi, a Muslim cleric and American citizen is added to the CIA hit list. The imam is known for his statements of faith on the internet. Because he is an American citizen Presidential approval was required for the death command. But more importantly, al-Aulaqi is a civilian.
To quote the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed and ratified by the U.S. and now part of the Laws of War,
"In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court.
"When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this article shall authorize any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." (ICCR, Part III Article 6, #2, & 3).
Assassination of anyone is expressly forbidden in the Laws of War (Law of Land Warfare, Section 2, #31). Because this addresses State policies so clearly, both Presidents Ford and Reagan issued executive orders forbidding assassination. President Reagan’s Executive Order 12333 (Dec. 4, 1981) states: "Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination" (Section 2.11). "Indirect participation is forbidden as well"(Section 2.12). An attempt to counter the Executive order was proposed through legislation ( H.R. 19: Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001) which failed and again in 2003 which failed. This order remains in effect. As customary law it can’t be superseded as law for executive convenience. Germany’s Third Reich, for example, evolved convenient laws to strip Jews of the right to own property or work. At liberation those "laws" were recognized as simply tactics of the genocide.
It is the declared policy of the the Department of Defense to "comply with the law of war."
Al-Aulaqi is a devout Muslim, born in and educated in the U.S.. He and his father, a former Minister of Agriculture in Yemen, say he isn’t connected to al-Qaeda. Imam successively of three mosques in the U.S. he was arrested by the FBI in 2006 and released after they found no ties to al-Qaeda. He was on the Army’s targeted list and target of a Yemeni / U.S. intelligence air strike on the house where he was supposed to be, killing thirty people. It was against the law to target him, either as a civilian, or as an imam (chaplains are considered medical personnel). It is a war crime to target a non-combatant under any circumstances. It was also against the law to kill thirty more Muslim civilians in a non-war zone.
The U.S. considers al-Aulaqi an inspirational threat, "dangerous" since both Major Hassan, the Army psychiatrist who killed personnel at his station, and an alleged Nigerian attempted "bomber" of a Detroit bound plane, are said to have been influenced by his thinking. There are others. While there is extreme carelessness in assuming al-Aulaqi ordered crimes of violence, Dennis Blair, U.S. director of National Intelligence, has insisted that the intelligence community is "not careless" in killing Americans abroad.
Al-Aulaqi is said to believe in a jihad against the U.S. in response to its war against Islam and Muslim people. There is evidence that the U.S. really is conducting a war against Islam. News sources quote al-Aulaqi as saying "I have come to the conclusion that jihad against America is a duty for me, as for every Muslim who can do it." A broad term, "jihad" does not specify violence or armed action, financial war as Libyan president Gaddafi recently announced against the Swiss, or a battle of cultures. Is it a crime for an imam to approve of jihad? Was the U.S. Civil Rights Movement song "You gotta do what the spirit say do" a death penalty offense? If al-Aulaqi bears arms or counsels others to bear arms against the U.S., then under U.S. law he has committed a serious crime. There is little specific evidence presented the public that al-Aulaqi has. He is a civilian entitled to a fair trial in civilian court. Within a military context, as a cleric he is a non-combatant. It is in all cases against the laws of war to target a non-combatant.
The SITE Intelligence Group which monitors Islamic web sites and provides information to field forces and U.S. Defense agencies, brought to the public’s attention al-Aulaqi’s anti-American and pro jihadist statements on March 19, 2010. SITE’s co-founder was the primary Canadian government witness, web-expert and translator at the recent Quebec trial of Said Namouh, a Muslim from Morocco, arrested and sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to plant bombs in Austria. Namouh committed no act of violence. His computer hard drive, emails and web postings were culled by the witness, for "jihadist" materials which transformed him into an al-Qaeda "propagandist." SITE is an activist company with an agenda. The co-founder is an Israeli who has served in the IDF, and is a Zionist, with a parent hung by Iraq as an Israeli spy. Blackwater, infamous for its murder of civilians, lists SITE as an invaluable resource, and this private company-for-profit / intelligence group receives half a million dollars a year from the U.S. tax free. By selecting for its web site instances of violent resistance from among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, with statements of imams who protest the slaughters that other moral people don’t dare protest openly, SITE offers, I think, something other than an impartial witnessing or presentation. Instances of 'web-terrorism’ by extremists, are used for the political purposes of those who would wage war on Islam.
Al-Aulaqi is faulted for his associations with known "terrorists" and he is faulted for honest religious statements. The first implies guilt by association while it is the duty of clerics and chaplains to be open to those who seek them out. As for the honesty of al-Aulaqi’s religious statements, the freedom to express these is guaranteed under U.S. law. Both the Constitution and American culture historically affirm both al-Aulaqi’s religious freedom and his freedom of speech. It is extreme to sacrifice these for any government agenda, particularly a "war on terrorism." His freedom to think, believe, express thoughts / beliefs is furthered by international covenants, treaties, the laws of all advancing countries. Because a cleric states moral truths common to Judaism, Christianity, and ethics, a criminal U.S. policy finds itself threatened tactically as well as morally. If U.S. policy asks the American public and people of the world to accept rule by murder it should listen more closely to the morality of others. With no comfortable reason to arrest and try him, Anwar al-Aulaqi is to be murdered as an "inspirational" threat. In the case of each target on the CIA Hit List, extra judicial murder is a crime against humanity with no statute of limitations.
It is an inappropriate response to murder people for hating America, especially as U.S. policy continues illegal massacres of civilians by drone attacks, aggressive military actions in civilian sectors, destruction of the infra-structures and the entire cultural fabric of victim societies. Current President Obama was elected to end the U.S. aggressive wars. It would be an appropriate response to change the policy.
Public understanding of what it means to murder people because they inspire others, is thoroughly buffered by context: since 1990 in Iraq millions of Iraqi Muslim civilians have been killed, mothers, fathers, children, who showed no ill will against America. That is partly what an "illegal war" means. Thousands of "combatants" and civilians were arrested in both Iraq and Afghanistan, clearly deprived of Geneva Convention rights in the instance of Guantanamo, tortured and detained under such extreme conditions their captors are liable for judgement under the laws of war and covenants for peace. Stripping a religiously defined enemy of human rights was a step toward this public call for murder by command. The order seems media-normal amidst a policy of war crimes against peoples who are Muslim.
Americans are aware that the "CIA hit lit" has been there a long time. Usually the crimes of power are covert. Evidence of CIA sponsored or executed extra judicial killing was apparent in U.S. policy operations against Lumumba, Castro, Allende, among others. The operations of death squads throughout the Americas, a mode of operation consistently traced to the US School of the Americas, simply covered military operations. The threat behind CIA gathering the thousands of names of radicals, leftists, communists, dissidents, union leaders and organizers in every country where U.S. has corporate interests surfaced in Indonesia of 1965, as one example, with the military murder of over half a million "Communists" from lists provided the Indonesian military by the CIA.
Openly marking al-Aulaqi for death because he is an "inspirational" threat, clarifies the deaths of other religious or "inspirational" leaders who faulted U.S. policies. El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero ("I beseech you, I beg you, I order you, in the name of God, to stop the repression !") was murdered by an intelligence operation on March 24, 1980 while he was celebrating mass at a hospital. The murder is traced to Roberto D’Aubuisson, trained by the U.S. in security and intelligence (New York and Virginia 1971) and in communications (the School of the Americas, 1972). On December 2, 1980, two Maryknoll sisters and two Ursuline sisters, were raped and murdered by the Salvadoran military covered by U.S. officials. The Sisters were Americans working for the Catholic Relief Services. Their names were Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan, Maura Clarke. On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, a cook and her daughter, were murdered by a "death squad," a euphemism for regular operations of ANSESAL and the military. Ignacio Ellacuria was rector of the university, Ignacio Martin-Baró vice rector, Segundo Montes a professor, Arnando López a professor, Juan Ramón Moreno a program director, – all five born in Spain, and Joaquin López y López director of a humanitarian assistance program, Julia Elba Ramos a cook, her 15 year old daughter Cecilia Ramos were shot between two and three in the morning. El Salvador’s Truth Commission found responsibility lay with named upper level officers of El Salvador’s U.S. supported military, and "businessmen." The victims’ inspirational crime was supporting the poor. The murders of those well known are moments in a sea of blood. From "death squad" and overt military rule in the Americas since the Sixties, the perpetrators of the crimes have been identified and in some cases prosecuted, often not, but the CIA programs remain unmentioned, the context of US policy and agenda protected. The US operatives, the diplomats, the conduits of funding to the death squads and client governments effecting the policy remain untouched even when names and responsibility are known.
The covert claim to absolute power over citizens of other countries, is now familiar enough for the CIA to allow surfacing of its hit list, not a new policy but the overt continuation of an old policy. It is publicly claiming the right of the American government to murder anyone.
U.S. Military Law
The words "capture or killing" puts the crime in the language of war, although military law is in fact particularly careful about who can be targeted.
Military law is also entirely aware of Nuremberg and the uselessness of "I was just obeying orders" defense. Military law is codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice which is federal U.S. law for those in the service or working with the military.
The US Military Uniform Code of Justice states it is the soldier’s duty to obey a lawful order. Refusal in wartime can mean the death penalty. But repeatedly the UCMJ reads, a "lawful order" must be obeyed. Which means to a rational mind that an unlawful order does not. The UCMJ itself offers little guidance about where to draw the line between an unlawful order and a lawful one, other than the obvious. Because the obvious is not spelled out it is no less obvious. Recent military law attempts to place determination of the lawfulness of the order, with a military court judge. It is not likely to end there. The military court is increasingly responsible to the Law of War, and the War Crimes Act of 1996 allows military personnel to be charged in federal (civilian) court for "grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions" among other crimes. And in areas under its domain the International Criminal Court doesn’t require accession to the ICC court, to prosecute.
Because the U.S. military now serves in regions which involve crimes of command such as aggression, the judicial arm of the military is increasingly concerned with international law. Current Department of Defense manuals on the law of war, advise judge advocates of not only the Geneva Conventions signed by the U.S. but the Optional Protocols, unsigned but which have become customary law, and applicable. While disobeying an unlawful order is a dangerous decision, it is a recognized alternative, there because it is necessary.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice steers questions of right and wrong to its Punative Articles dealing with crimes against the military system, including crimes one finds in civilian courts – drunken driving, rape, manslaughter, etc.. The UCMJ avoids direct interface from within with the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War / Laws of Armed Conflict (LOW & LOAC), except notably in Article 18 which gives court martial the right to try war crimes. This would include breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other Laws of War. By application of Geneva Conventions and the other instruments of international law which military courts must consider, a war crime (or "crime against humanity" if part of an agenda or series of war crimes), is prosecutable. Anyone ordering a war crime is issuing a "patently unlawful order".
Ordering extra-judicial killing of possibly eight or nine Muslim men, and in particular the cleric Al-Aulaqi, the U.S. finds itself using a mechanism of the German Nazis in preparing Germany’s home front for war: the dehumanization of a religious and ethnic group. Extreme deprivations of human rights is dehumanization. Dehumanization is always a requisite for mass murder and genocide, and reveals its pre-meditated intention.
What is unacceptable about ordering the killing or capture of al-Aulaqi is not simply that he is an American citizen but that he is a Muslim of a group suffering a series of war crimes. More profoundly he’s an innocent human being until proven guilty. The repetitiveness of war crimes against so many Muslim people moves the entire area of individual crimes against Muslims into a crime against humanity. It continues a progression depriving people of their rights and getting away with it because they are Muslims, even when they are Americans, and as such bear some responsibility for the crime. Psychologically this drives a targeted group to opposition.
The engineering of sides in this "war" of corporate military acquisition is attempting genocide. The targeted victim group among others, has a moral right to resist. Survival is its human right. U.S. policy and media perception management have dehumanized large groups of Muslims by illegal mass slaughters in the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the denial of long standing human rights to prisoners / suspects, so the legal rights of Muslims in vulnerable areas are removed. Al-Aulaqi’s rights have been removed because of his beliefs.
Increasingly human rights form the matrix of a functioning society. International laws and the laws of progressive countries reflect this. In the U.S. the new Law of War Documentary Supplement to the Law of War Handbook (2008) intended for judge advocates, begins to write into U.S. military judicial code international law far in advance of U.S. domestic law. Customary laws accepted by many nations are becoming conventional (codified) law. There is at least a practical understanding that where military decisions exclude humanity they lose the good faith necessary to laws of war that protect both sides.
The interface of Public International Law (law of armed conflict and international covenants, conventions and treaties binding on every nation) with the U.S. military justice system suggests eventual radical change. The interface is also in place within Canadian Law, but at this point rarely active. In both instances, application of international law within a domestic context limits capitalism by limiting the ugliest means of imposing power. Possibly for this reason corporately controlled politicians criminalize the U.S. military with wars of aggression.
There is a history of men and women trying to explain to power that you can’t kill faith, or ideas, a sense of justice, a hunger for the good. The ancient cultures from Indo-Europe and Persia are highly civilized. Resistance survives. It isn’t simply the resistance of Islam, or an interpretation of the Koran, or a sect. The need is for freedom to follow one’s way. It is the survival of faith, of the early Christians in Rome, of Toussaint L’Overture, of Louis Riel, the refusals of the Warsaw ghetto, of Ho Chi Min, of Jean Moulin, John Brown and Thoreau, of Beauregard as well, of Simon Bolivar, Fidel, of a revolution America has dreamed of. Among the thousands on thousand moments in history when the arrogance of oppression overwhelms its respect for life, there is resistance.
By placing a Muslim American within its realm of slaughter, simply for stating his beliefs and suggesting they are worth dying for, this U.S. Policy breaks faith with humanity. Americans have already lived through the murders of so many of our own religious leaders. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was only an American. His freedom of thought and faith became a threat to government waging war in Vietnam. An "inspirational" threat. Malcolm X was only an American, an inspirational threat and visionary. There were so many unexplained unjustified deaths of Americans through the Sixties, men and women of good name or nameless, who believed in humanity. Some wore the uniform. The crime proposed against Anwar al-Aulaqi is part of a much larger American crime that remains unacceptable and leaves no family untouched.
The concern isn’t only the order to kill Anwar al-Aulaqi, which I believe is a patently illegal order. A U.S. policy of "war" has created a norm of unjustified killings. The victims are often innocent and unforgettable. The policy places those in the military and related services, the CIA, the contractors, people who are "just following orders," outside a human community and beyond the protections of law. With any concern for human life the order should be cancelled.
Creating An Environmental Disaster In Afghan Countryside (Part 1 of 3)
America plans to withdraw its troops but leave behind a toxic mess
Kabul Press, April 25, 2010
The American military presence in Afghanistan consists of fleets of aircraft, helicopters, armored vehicles, weapons, equipment, troops and facilities. Since 2001, they have generated millions of kilograms of hazardous, toxic and radioactive wastes. The Kabul Press asks the simple question:
"What have the Americans done with all that waste?"
The answer is chilling in that virtually all of it appears to have been buried, burned or secretly disposed of into the air, soil, groundwater and surface waters of Afghanistan. While the Americans may begin to withdraw next year, the toxic chemicals they leave behind will continue to pollute for centuries. Any abandoned radioactive waste may stain the Afghan countryside for thousands of years. Afghanistan has been described in the past as the graveyard of foreign armies. Today, Afghanistan has a different title:
"Afghanistan is the toxic dumping ground for foreign armies."
The (U.S.) Air Force Times ran an editorial on March 1, 2010, that read: "Stamp Out Burn Pits" We reprint here the first half of that editorial:
"A growing number of military medical professionals believe burn pits are causing a wave of respiratory and other illnesses among troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Found on almost all U.S. bases in the war zones, these open-air trash sites operate 24 hours a day, incinerating trash of all forms — including plastic bottles, paint, petroleum products, unexploded ordinance, hazardous materials, even amputated limbs and medical waste. Their smoke plumes belch dioxin, carbon monoxide and other toxins skyward, producing a toxic fog that hangs over living and working areas. Yet while the Air Force fact sheet flatly states that burn pits "can be harmful to human health and environment and should only be used until more suitable disposal capabilities are established," the Pentagon line is that burn pits have "no known long-term health effects."
On April 12, 2010, the Richmond Times-Dispatch carried an article by David Zucchino who investigated the American burn pits in Iraq. He interviewed Army Sgt. 1st Class Francis Jaeger who hauled military waste to the Balad burn pit which was being operated by a civilian contractor for the Pentagon. Jaeger told Zucchino:
"We were told to burn everything - electronics, bloody gauze, the medics’ biohazard bags, surgical gloves, cardboard. It all went up in smoke."
The Pentagon now admits to operating 84 "official" burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of unofficial burn pits is not known. The Pentagon claims that it is phasing out its burn pits in favor of incinerators and that 27 incinerators are currently operating in Iraq and Afghanistan with 82 more to be added in the near future.
According to a website called the "Burn Pits Action Center," hundreds of American veterans who came in contact with burn pit smoke have been diagnosed with cancer, neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, breathing and sleeping problems and various skin rashes. In 2009, they filed more than 30 lawsuits in Federal courts across the United States, naming Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), and its former parent company Halliburton. These companies were named because of their involvement in the LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan. Several KBR entities either managed or assisted in the management of the American military’s waste in both countries and allegedly operated some or all of the burn pits. Additional lawsuits were filed in 2010, including one in Federal District Court in New Jersey.
The lawsuits reveal that the Pentagon has ignored American and international environmental laws and the results appear to be the widespread release of hazardous pollutants into the air, soil, surface water and groundwater across Afghanistan. This is a persistent problem that continues today. Unlike Saudi Arabia which insisted that American forces cleanup their pollution after the war to oust Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, or the Government of Canada which likewise insisted on a strict cleanup of American bases on its soil, the Government of Afghanistan has been unable to force the Americans and their allies to repair all the environmental damage that they have caused and continue to cause. Afghanistan does not want to wind up like Vietnam. While American ground combat units withdrew from South Vietnam in 1972, neither Vietnam nor its people have recovered from the long term environmental damage and mutagenic effects that American military operations and their exotic chemicals caused.
This article summarizes the problem of America’s military wastes and examines the types of hazardous wastes that are likely to have been released into Afghanistan.
Part 2 of this series will address the contradictory responses by the Pentagon to this problem and it will explore one of the remedies that the Pentagon is currently implementing, which is to phase out the burn pits, replacing them with incinerators. The article examines the flaws in that strategy and why Afghanistan should carefully consider whether to permit the continued use of military incinerators.
Part 3 of this series will set out the recommendations of the author to the Government of Afghanistan on how to investigate and clean up the pollution of Afghanistan’s countryside caused by the burn pits, landfills and other disposal facilities used by American forces.
THE SOURCES OR MEANS BY WHICH THE VARIOUS WASTES ARE BEING RELEASED
The American military hazardous wastes that are believed to have entered the air, soil, groundwater and surface water of Afghanistan did so through the following methods (this list is partial only):
- Burn pits
- Burying/landfilling of the waste and ash
- Intentional dumping
- Accidental spills
- Surface runoff
- Leaking storage tanks, sumps and basins
CATEGORIES OF AMERICAN MILITARY WASTE
The American military’s waste, at this time, cannot be completely characterized. The volume and variety of waste (i.e., thousands of different chemicals) are not known and there are certain to be classified items and materials which have been brought into Afghanistan for which there may be no documentation. Regardless of that, much is known about the materials and chemicals that the military routinely uses and about the waste that it routinely generates. Most American military wastes will falls into one of the following twelve (12) categories:
The Dirty Dozen:
1. Fuel leaks and spills. These include releases of aviation fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. These releases would range from large releases at American airbases of hundreds or even thousands of liters, to minor spills at Forward Operating Bases and combat outposts as soldiers seek to refill diesel generators. Petroleum residues have the ability to leach rapidly into underground drinking water aquifers and create plumes that will permanently contaminate local wells. There is no known way to completely remediate a groundwater source after it has been contaminated with hydrocarbons.
2. Paints, asbestos, solvents, grease, cleaning solutions (such as perchloethylene) and building materials that contain formaldehyde, copper, arsenic and hydrogen cyanide.
3. Hydraulic fluids, aircraft de-icing fluids, antifreeze and used oil. Used oil is carcinogenic, anti-freeze is poisonous, de-icing fluids can contain hazardous ethylene and propylene glycol, along with toxic additives such as benzotriazoce (which is a corrosion and flame inhibitor). Hydraulic fluids can contain TPP (triphenyl phosphate).
4. Pesticide/poison leaks and spills: Afghanistan apparently has no list of the pesticides, fungicides, termiticides and other poisons that the Americans brought into Afghanistan and used, spilled and released into the countryside in order to control flies, mosquitos, ants, fleas and rodents. The military refers to such practices as "vector control." It is expected that the list of such neuro-toxins and the quantity sprayed or spilled throughout Afghanistan is staggering.
5. Lead, nickel, zinc and cadmium battery waste and acids (which are toxic and/or corrosive).
6. Electronic waste (or E-waste). This includes computers, printers, faxes, screens, televisions, radios, refrigerators, communications gear, test equipment. They contain cancer-causing chemicals such as the flame retardant PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), PCDD (polychlorinated dioxins), barium, copper, lead, zinc, cadmium oxides and cadmium sulphides and trivalent antimony, which is eco-toxic.
7. Light bulbs. This may not seem important but many military light bulbs are fluorescent and therefore contain toxic levels of mercury. Disposal of these light bulbs in ordinary landfills is prohibited in the United States.
8. Plastics. The U.S. military uses thousands of different types and formulations of plastic. While most are harmless in their present state, such as plastic water bottles and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) piping, the military has been burning its plastic waste in Afghanistan. When burned, many plastics release a deadly mix of chemicals including dioxins, furans, benzene, di 2-ethylhexyl phthalates (DEHP), hydrochloric acid, benzo(a)pyrene (BAP) and various acids and chlorine gas (which is a neurotoxin). Breathing a few seconds of this mixture in a concentrated form would likely be fatal.
9. Medical Waste. Infectious disease waste and biohazard materials, including used syringes, bloody bandages, sheets, gloves, expired drugs, amputated limbs and animal carcasses.
10. Ammunition waste. Lead, brass and other metals from ammunition along with all the constituents of the propellants, including trininitrotoluene, picric acid, diphenylamine, nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, potassium nitrate, barium nitrate, tetracene, diazodintrophenol, phosphorus, peroxides, thiocarbamate, potassium chlorate, vinyl fluoride, vinyl chloride, sodium fluoride and sodium sulfate.
11. Radioactive waste. When one thinks of radioactive waste, usually one thinks only of atomic weapons, but that is not the case. The American military routinely uses a variety of devices and equipment that contain radioactive elements or radioluminescent elements. These materials are referred to as "Radioactive Commodities" by the American military. The primary radioactive materials are: Uranium, Tritium, Radium 226, Americium 241, Thorium, Cesium 137 and Plutonium 239.
Some of the equipment containing radioactive elements:
- Night Vision Devices
- M-16 Front Sight Post Assemblies
- M72 Light Antitank Weapons
- T-55 Aircraft Engine components
- M58 and M59 Light Aiming Posts
- M4 Front Sight Post Assemblies
- RADIAC Calibrator Sets and Check Sources
- Radium Compasses
- L4A1 Quadrant Fire Control Devices
- Fire Control Azimuths
- Level Gauges
- M-1 Collimators
- M-1 Muzzle Reference Sensors
- Soil Moisture Density Testers
- TACOM Vehicle Dials and Gauges
- Radios, including VRC-46/GRC-106/GRC-19
- Chemical Agent Monitors
- Testing Instruments
- Vehicle Depleted Uranium Plates
- Depleted Uranium Ammunition, including 20 millimeter ammunition
- Electron Tubes for Communications Equipment
- Various types of Laboratory and Hospital Analysis and Testing Machines.
Note: The American military will likely insist that it strictly controls the disposal of radioactive waste, but such assertions are not credible. While there are strict regulations, the time and cost of complying with them in a war zone are such that base commanders in Afghanistan most likely ignored them, opting instead for throwing the waste into burn pits. The evidence for this is contained in Part 3 of this Report, which cites to a Pentagon-funded study of what American field commanders think of the Pentagon’s environmental regulations.
If the American military continues to insist that it did not release radioactive materials in Afghanistan it should document such assertions by releasing its records. The Pentagon should publicly release all data on every radioactive commodity brought into Afghanistan. They should all be listed in HMIRS (the Hazardous Materials Information System). The Pentagon should then detail where each commodity is today.
12. Grey and Black Water. The American military and its contractors in Afghanistan operate human waste facilities. The military refers to these as LSS (Latrine, Shower and Shave) facilities. They generate what is known as grey and black waste-water. Grey water from sinks and showers has as its primary pollutant soap residue (i.e., phosphates and other chemicals that generate what is known as BOD - biological oxygen demand, which means they can absorb all the available oxygen in streams and rivers so fish cannot breathe). Some American soaps contain additives such as MIT (methylisothiazolinone), which is under investigation as a toxin.
Latrines generate black water pollution. While the American military has to adhere to strict rules regarding the discharge of such waste in the United States, it faces no restrictions in Afghanistan. Latrines can be dug near ground water and even upgradient from surface water (so that discharges can flow into them). There are no known maps of all the American latrines. After a latrine pit is filled, it is apparently covered over with dirt and forgotten.
While environmental releases involving categories 1 and 12 above are a certainty, it is feared that millions of kilograms and millions of liters of wastes set out in categories 2 through 11 were all thrown into the hundreds of American burn pits in Afghanistan or dumped into secret landfills. If true, the American legacy to Afghanistan is not freedom, but pollution.
In February 2010, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began an 18-month study of the burn pits in Afghanistan and their effect on human health. Afghanistan cannot wait eighteen months for the results of this study, it has to act now.
The author is a former U.S. Air Force Captain. He advised on environmental cleanups at Logistics Command regarding the Air Force’s most contaminated bases and depots. He then worked for Bechtel Environmental and was involved in Superfund cleanups across the United States and radiological cleanups at U.S. Department of Energy sites. He later served as a consultant to a group of environmental remediation companies, smelters and waste recyclers.
$10 Billion Promise
And Haiti Surrenders Its SovereigntyInternational Donors Conference at the UN
By Kim Ives
It was fitting that the Mar. 31 "International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti" was held in the Trusteeship Council at the United Nations headquarters in New York. At the event, Haitian President René Préval in effect turned over the keys to Haiti to a consortium of foreign banks and governments, which will decide how (to use the conference's principal slogan) to "build back better" the country devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
This "better" Haiti envisions some 25,000 farmers providing Coca-Cola with mangos for a new Odwalla brand drink, 100,000 workers assembling clothing and electronics for the U.S. market in sweatshops under HOPE II legislation, and thousands more finding jobs as guides, waiters, cleaners and drivers when Haiti becomes a new tourist destination.
"Haiti could be the first all-wireless nation in the Caribbean," gushed UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, who along with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, led the day-long meeting of over 150 nations and international institutions. Clinton got the idea for a "wireless nation," not surprisingly, from Brad Horwitz, the CEO of Trilogy, the parent company of Voilà, Haiti's second largest cell-phone network.
Although a U.S. businessman, Horwitz was, fittingly, one of the two representatives who spoke for Haiti's private sector at the Donors Conference. "Urgent measures to rebuild Haiti are only sustainable if they become the foundation for an expanded and vibrant private sector," Horwitz told the conference."We need you to view the private sector as your partner.to understand how public funds can be leveraged by private dollars."
"Of course, what's good for business is good for the country," quipped one journalist listening to the speech.
The other private sector spokesman was Reginald Boulos, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti (CHIC), who fiercely opposed last year's union and student-led campaign to raise Haiti's minimum wage to $5 a day, convincing Préval to keep it at $3 a day. He also was a key supporter of both the 1991 and 2004 coups d'état against former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, now exiled in South Africa.
In counterpoint, the only voice Aristide's popular base had at the conference was in the street outside the UN, where about 50 Haitians picketed from noon to 6 p.m. in Ralph Bunche park to call for an end to the UN and US military occupation of Haiti, now over six years old, and to protest the Haitian people's exclusion from reconstruction deliberations. (New York's December 12th Movement also had a picket at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 47th Street).
"No to neocolonialism," read a sign held up by Jocelyn Gay, a member of the Committee to Support the Haitian People's Struggle (KAKOLA), which organized the picket with the Lavalas Family's New York Chapter and the International Support Haiti Network(ISHN). "No to Economic Exploitation Disguised as Reform. MINUSTAH [UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti], Out of Haiti! "
The exclusion of Haiti's popular sector was masked by the inclusion of other "sectors" in the Donors Conference, although their presentations were purely for show, with no bearing on the plans which had already been drawn up. Joseph Baptiste, chairman and founder of the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH), and Marie Fleur, a Massachusetts state representative, spoke on behalf of the "Haitian Diaspora Forum." Moise Charles Pierre, Chairman of the Haitian National Federation of Mayors and Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay spoke on behalf of the "Local Government Conference." Non-governmental organizations had three spokespeople: Sam Worthington for the North American ones, Benedict Hermelin for the European ones, and Colette Lespinasse of GARR, for the Haitian ones. Even the "MINUSTAH Conference" had two speakers.
Michele Montas, the widow of slain radio journalist Jean Dominique and former spokeswoman for Ban Ki-Moon, spoke in English and French on behalf of the "Voices of the Voiceless Forum" which held focus group discussions with peasants, workers and small merchants in Haiti during March. "A clear majority of focus group participants," she said, "from both rural and urban areas, strongly believe that there is a critical need to invest in people. Focus groups highlighted five key immediate priorities: housing, new earthquake resistant shelters for displaced people; education, in all of the school systems throughout the country; health, the building of primary healthcare facilities and hospitals; local public services, potable water, sanitation, electricity; communications infrastructure, primarily roads to allow food production to reach the cities... There seemed to be unanimity on the need to invest in human capital through education, including higher education."
"Support for agricultural production," Montas continued, "was stressed as a top priority... Agriculture, perhaps more than other sectors, is seen as essential to the country's health, and the prevailing sentiment is that the peasantry has been neglected."
Even Préval has recognized this neglect, but he got in trouble last month when he called on Washington to "stop sending food aid" because of its deleterious effects on the Haitian peasant economy (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 3, No. 36, 3/24/2010). The U.S. responded that there was "severe corruption" in his government.
Préval fell back into line. His government prepared a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report (PDNA), the conference's reference document, with "members of the International Community." Of the $12.2 billion total it requested for the next three years, only $41 million, or 0.3 percent, would be earmarked for "Agriculture and fishing."
The centerpieces of the Clinton plan are assembly factories and tourism (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 3, No. 36, 3/24/2010). But the former president still pays lip-service to agriculture.
In the hallway outside the Trusteeship Council, Haïti Liberté asked Bill Clinton what had led him last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to renounce his policies as US president of dumping cheap rice on Haiti.
"Oh, I just think that, you know, there's a movement all around the world now," Clinton responded. "I first saw Bob Zoellick, the head of the World Bank, say the same thing, where he said..., starting in 1981, the wealthy agricultural producing countries genuinely believed that they and the emerging agricultural powers in Brazil and Argentina... that they really believed for twenty years that if you moved agricultural production there and then facilitated its introduction into poorer places, you would free those places to get aid to skip agricultural development and go straight into an industrial era. And it's failed everywhere it's been tried. And you just can't take the food chain out of production. And it also undermines a lot of the culture, the fabric of life, the sense of self-determination... And we made this devil's bargain on rice. And it wasn't the right thing to do. We should have continued to work to help them be self-sufficient in agriculture. And that's a lot of what we're doing now. We're thinking about how can we get the coffee production up, how can we get ... the mango production up, ... the avocados, and lots of other things."
In other words, the U.S. and other "agricultural powers" would provide Haiti food, "freeing up"Haitian farmers to go work in U.S.-owned sweatshops, thereby ushering in "an industrial era," as if the cinder-block shells of assembly plants represent organic industrialization.
Now Clinton, sensitive to the demands of Montas's "focus groups," promotes agriculture, but as a way to integrate Haiti into the global capitalist economy. Many peasant and anti-neoliberal groups see agricultural self-sufficiency as a way to disconnect and insulate Haiti from predatory capitalist powers.
At a 5:30 p.m. closing press conference, Ban Ki-moon announced pledges of $5.3 billion in reconstruction aid for the next 18 months, exceeding the Haitian government's request of $3.9 billion. The total pledges amount to $9.9 billion for the next 3 years "plus" - a significant detail given how notoriously neglected UN aid promises are. Bill Clinton announced that only 30% of his previous fund-raising pledge drive for Haiti had been honored.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive and President Préval played only supporting roles at the Conference, requesting support at the start and thanking nations at the end.
The essence of this conference was summed up by Hillary Clinton. "The leaders of Haiti must take responsibility for their country's reconstruction," she said as Washington pledged $1.15 billion for Haiti's long-term reconstruction. "And we in the global community must also do things differently. It will be tempting to fall back on old habits - to work around the government rather than to work with them as partners, or to fund a scattered array of well-meaning projects rather than making the deeper, long-term investments that Haiti needs now."
So now, supposedly, NGOs will take a back seat to the Haitian government, but a Haitian government which is working with the NGOs and under the complete supervision of foreign "donors." Under the Plan, the World Bank distributes the reconstruction funds to projects it deems worthy. An Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, composed of 13 foreigners and 7 Haitians, approves the disbursements. Then another group of foreigners supervises the Haitian government's implementation of the project.
The only direct support the Haitian government got at the Donors Conference was $350 million to pay state salaries, only 6.6% of the initial $5.3 billion pledged. This came after the International Monetary Fund warned that the budgetary support was necessary to keep the Haitian government from printing money, thereby risking inflation.
"We trust that the numerous promises heard will be converted into action, that Haiti's independence and sovereignty will be respected and ennobled, that the government of President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive will be facilitated to exercise all its faculties, and that it will be able to benefit, not the white and foreign companies, but the Haitian people, especially the poorest," said Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parilla at the conference. "Generosity and political will is needed. Also needed is the unity of that country instead of its division into market shares and dubious charitable projects."
Indeed, there are some interesting ideas in the Haitian government's Action Plan, also presented at the conference. It calls for 400,000 people to be employed, half by the government and half by "international and national stakeholders," to restore irrigation systems and farm tracks, to develop watersheds (reforestation, setting up pastureland, correcting ravines in peri-urban areas, fruit trees), to maintain roads, and to work on "minor community-based infrastructure (tracks, paths, footbridges, shops and community centers, small reservoirs and feed pipes, etc.) and urban infrastructure (roadway paving, squares, drainage network cleaning) ... and do projects related to the cleaning and recycling of materials created by the collapse of buildings in the areas most affected by the earth-quake."
All that sounds nice, but unfortunately, now the decision is up to the strategists at the World Bank.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Studies Reveal Declining Living Standards and Increasing Anger
Global Research, April 24, 2010
World Socialist Web Site - 2010-04-23
A series of recent studies conducted by the Pew Research Center shed new light on the scope of the economic crisis in the US and the level of hostility the majority of the American population holds for the US government.
Released in March, before the passage of the Obama administration’s health care legislation, a survey entitled “Health Care Reform—Can’t Live With It, or Without It” indicates that 92 percent of Americans give the national economy a negative rating. No fewer than 70 percent of the respondents report having suffered job-related and financial problems in the past year, an increase from 59 percent the year before. Fifty-four percent report someone in their home has been without a job and looking for work in the past year, up from 39 percent in 2009.
The poll saw an aggravation of conditions in every area of economic life studied the year before. Increasing numbers of people are reporting difficulty receiving or affording medical care (26 percent) or paying their rent or mortgage payments (24 percent). More Americans faced problems with collections and credit agencies (21 percent), or had mortgages, loans or credit card applications denied (19 percent).
As could be expected, the poorest Americans are suffering the most. Some 44 percent of those making $30,000 per year or less report difficulty obtaining medical care, compared to 11 percent of those making $75,000 per year or more. A similar gap can be found in the category of rents and mortgages, with 37 percent of those making $30,000 or less reporting difficulty making rent or mortgage payments, compared to 11 percent of those making $75,000 or more. However, the percentage of those facing difficulties paying rent has increased dramatically for both groups since 2009.
Large numbers of workers polled in the study say they have little confidence in job security and prospects for the future, with almost half (49 percent) saying it is “very or somewhat likely” they will suffer “job-related financial stress” in the next year. Twenty-five percent of workers say they expect to be forced to take a pay cut this year, while 24 percent expect to be laid off.
The Pew survey found that 85 percent of Americans reported difficulty finding jobs in their communities. This and other statistics revealing the increasingly dismal employment opportunities facing millions of Americans are provided context in another study released this month by the Pew Economic Policy Group.
“A Year or More: The High Cost of Long-Term Unemployment” reports that no fewer than 44 percent of unemployed Americans met or exceeded the standard measure of long-term unemployment (six months or more) in March 2010. This marks the highest rate for long-term unemployment levels since World War II.
In addition to this, the Pew study reports that “23 percent of the nearly 15 million Americans who are unemployed have been jobless for a year or more.” This translates to 3.4 million people, “roughly equivalent,” the study points out, “to the population of the state of Connecticut.”
These alarming numbers should be considered along with findings in another recent Pew research study entitled “The People and Their Government,” released April 18. This report finds that “by almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.”
Only 22 percent of Americans say their government can be trusted, according to the new survey. The report puts this among the lowest measures of trust in the government in half a century.
The study also shows across-the-board declines in approval ratings for numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-three percent say the government has a negative effect on their daily life, up from 31 percent in 1997.
While approval ratings for the government are remarkably low, with 65 percent saying the federal government and congress have a negative impact “on the way things are going in the country,” the approval ratings for other major institutions are as low or lower. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed say banks and other financial institutions have a negative impact on the way things are going in the country, while 64 percent say “large corporations” have a negative impact. Some 57 percent say the national news media has a negative impact, while 49 percent say labor unions have such an impact.
The report states that “more than six-in-ten (62%) say it is a major problem that government policies unfairly benefit some groups while nearly as many (56%) say that government does not do enough to help average Americans.”
Taken as a whole, the Pew studies from March and April offer additional insight into the growing social misery under conditions of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the outrage it is generating.
Wide layers of the population, who have seen trillions of dollars funneled from the public treasury into the coffers of Wall Street executives while their own living standards have been assaulted, their jobs slashed, their children’s schools closed, and vital social programs such as Medicare cut by billions of dollars, have no faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs.
The corporate-controlled news media, along with the major institutions overseeing the nation’s educational needs and basic food and medical resources, are considered corrupt and untrustworthy, contributing to the suffering of millions.
President Barack Obama, continuing to pose as a populist man of the people when he finds it necessary or beneficial, stands exposed as the chief representative of the interests of the American ruling elite and the standard bearer in the assault on the working class.
The restructuring of society taking place, in the direct interests of the corporate-financial elite and at the expense of the working population, is not occurring unnoticed. The American and international working class will inevitably find itself drawn into struggle against the present, untenable form of social organization.
Global Research Articles by Hiram Lee
Saturday, April 24, 2010
By Zahira Torres \ Austin Bureau
AUSTIN -- The University of Texas System said on Friday that all students, faculty and staff in seven northern Mexico states should immediately return home.
UT System officials cited escalating violence in the Mexican states as the reason for recalling students attending university-sponsore d programs in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Baja California and Durango.
Officials said the system's nine universities and six health institutions are already planning the return of about 40 people.
A shootout in Juárez, which is in Chihuahua, killed at least five federal police officers and one city police officer on the day the recall was announced.
Francisco Cigarroa, the UT System chancellor, said in a statement that safety concerns played a key role in the decision.
He said the actions taken "with regard to study-abroad programs and other university-sponsore d international activities are prudent, given the unfortunate escalation in violence in these regions."
The suspension of travel for university-sponsore d exchange programs in the seven Mexican states is indefinite, officials said. They said they would continue to monitor the situation before deciding to lift restrictions.
Some universities began ordering that students return from Mexico even before the recall was carried out.
The University of Texas at Austin this month suspended its exchange program at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. It recalled six university
Thursday, April 22, 2010
People of good conscience have chosen to boycott israeli products and companies supporting the zionist entity.
COMPANIES TO BOYCOTT
AOL Time Warner, Time Life magazine, CNN, ICQ
Apax Partners, Jonny Rockets, Sunglass Hut.
Arsenal Football Club
Coca-Cola, Fruitopia, Fanta, Kia Orange, Lilt, Sprite, Sunkist..
Danone, HP foods, Evian, Volvic, Jacob
Delta Galil, Hema, Barbie, Carrefour, Auchan, Tchibo, Victoria's Secret, GAP, Banana Republic, Structure, J-Crew, JC Penny, Pryca, Lindex, DIM, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Playtex, cK, Hugo Boss, M&S
Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, DKNY, Prescriptives, Origins, MAC, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, Jane, Donna Karan, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone, Bumble & Bumble, Kate Spade
Home Depot, Villager's Hardware, Georgia Lighting, Apex Supply, EXPO Design Centres
Johnson & Johnson
Kimberly-Clark, Kleenex, Kotex, Huggies, Andrex
Lewis Trust Group, River Island, Isrotel hotels, Britannia Pacific
The Limited Inc, Express stores, Lerner New York, Structure, New York & Company, Mast Industries, Intimate Brands, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle Company, Henri Bendel
L'Oreal, Giorgio Armani, Redken 5th Avenue, Lancome Paris, Vichy, Cacharel, La Roche-Posay, Garnier, Biotherm, Helena Rubinstein, Maybelline, Ralph Lauren, Carson
Marks & Spencer, M&S, St.Michaels
Nestle, Nescafé, Perrier, Vittel, Pure Life, Carnation, Libby's, Milkmaid, Nesquik, Maggi, Buitoni, Cross & Blackwell, KitKat, Milkybar, Quality Street, Smarties, After Eight, Aero, Polo, Lion, Felix cat food, L'Oréal
* News Corporation
TV: Fox, Sky, Star, Phoenix, Granada, CNBC. UK newspapers: Standard Newspaper, News of the World, The Sun, The Times. Australian Newspapers: The Telegraph , Gold Coast Bulletin, Herald Sun, Independent, Sunday Mail. US newspapers: New York Post. Publishers: Harper Collins Ragan, Zondervan, National Geographical. Nursery World, Rawkus, NDS, Mushroom Records, ChinaByte.com, Festival Records
Revlon, New World Entertainment, Forbes
Sara Lee, Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Douwe Egberts, Bryan, DIM, Ambi Pur, Bali, Superior Coffee, Just My Size, Kiwi, Maison Cafe, Nur die, Pilao, Lovable, Outer Banks, Wonderbra, Sanex, Pickwick, Gossard, Body Mist, Brylcreem, Aqua Velva, Radox
Starbucks, Seattle Coffee, Pasqua, Hear Music, Tazo
Anatomy Of USA's
Defeat In Afghanistan
By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
April 21, 2010
With the long awaited decision by the Obama Administration in regards to the new strategy for Afghanistan, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated to the point that the US commanders started using the word 'defeat’ in their report to Washington. The word defeat has rarely been uttered by military; however, Afghanistan is the exception, where defeat is a realistic outcome. There, defeat is a reality that all invaders have faced since the beginning when Pashtuns have inhabited this region. The Pashtuns’ resistance is one of multiple factors characterizing the Anatomy of US’s Defeat in Afghanistan, where the inevitability of defeat for the US and NATO appears to be a certainty.
FACTORS OF DEFEAT
American Military underestimated the Afghans (Pashtuns)
When the American troops landed in Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, they were confident that the defeat of the Taliban and take over of Afghanistan was inevitable. Their behavior was typically American characterized with excessive over confidence totally oblivious of Afghan history. Characteristically, they did not expect to suffer significant casualties either; however, much to their dismay, American causality has become quite apparent The overconfidence of American military was detailed by a reporter of IWPR:
"…in October when the Americans began deploying at the airport,
they were gung-ho, telling their Uzbek counterparts that it would take no more than a month and a half to defeat the Taleban…"
The report continues:
"Uzbek army personnel working at the air base said scores of US casualties have been arriving there. From November 25 to Decemeber [sic] 2, an Uzbek orderly working with American medical staff said he had witnessed the arrival of four to five US helicopters - carrying between them 10-15 American casualties - each day."
The wounded soldiers that had returned from Afghanistan were frustrated by the sudden change in their self-perceived invincibility. The frustrations of the wounded soldiers on the base played out in daily occurrences of shouting and name-callings. These were the same soldiers that had heroic mentality before entering Afghanistan.
Similar experiences were reported in other parts of Afghanistan. For example, during operation Anaconda in 2002, America had used massive firepower to subdue a Taliban Commander Saifu-r-Rahman Mansoor in Shah-e-Kot in Southeastern Afghanistan. The Americans thought they could destroy the Afghan resistance by having superior airpower. They learned this to be more a wishful thinking. In the days of the fighting, Pentagon made various extravagant claims of having destroyed Mansoor’s defenses and killing more than a thousand (1000) Taliban fighters. The facts were otherwise. The US forces went to the battle with a heroic mind set, but they were bitterly surprised when they sustained heavy losses and had lost 16 helicopters ranging from apaches to Chinooks. The escalation reached a point of no return when 22 American Special Forces were caught alive. The heavy losses coupled with the captured soldiers started to take its toll on the US forces until March 10, 2002 when General Tommy Frank decided to pull back 400 troops to Bagram. The official explanation was that the conflict had ended for the most part while media reported that the troops suffered from battle fatigue. The truth was that the pull back was an attempt at building confidence aimed at convincing Taliban that American military is serious in seeking the release of the 22 Special Forces Commandos. The Taliban Commander, Maulana Mansoor demanded the release of all captives held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the 22 Special Forces soldiers.
Meanwhile, as the US forces encountered stiff resistance, it claimed to be fighting against a force of 1000 fighters when in reality there were 100 Afghan fighters, 120 Uzbek, and 30 Arab fighters. The US claimed to have killed 700 of 1000 Taliban/Al-Qaida fighters:
"U.S. military spokesmen estimate 700 out of roughly 1,000 Islamic extremists have been killed in the past nine days of fighting, which has cost the lives of eight Americans and three allied Afghans."
The number of Taliban and foreign fighters killed stood at 88 (mostly Uzbek including 8 Arabs) while the number of US, British and others were much higher. Different media sources reported different numbers in regards to US losses. For example, the Russian online newspaper Strana.Ru on April 8, 2002, reported that the US lost 100 Special Forces and four Apache helicopters. However, data obtained from the battlefield put the casualty figure at 228 killed. From this figure 186 Americans killed in the battle, 22 prisoners executed when the US refused to release Guantanamo prisoners and 20 British SAS were killed when their vehicles were ambushed. The 186 killed Americans included those that were onboard helicopters. The total number of helicopters shot was 16 out of which two Chinook and 6 Apaches were totally destroyed and the remaining crash landed. The Canadians and Australians killed were reported as victims of friendly fire.
This is what happens when armed forces exhibit patronizing mentality and underestimate the enemy.
American Brutality-Excessive Use of Force and Racist View
The sheer use of excessive force coupled with individual cases of callous murder and torture could be viewed in the dichotomy of intention and reaction. The aspect of intentionality points to the way the military views the targeted population. The US military as an institution and their personnel must consider the people they bomb or murder perhaps less human, otherwise, the excessive use of force, committing murder and tortures would not be wide spread in their ranks. For example, by October 2002, the first anniversary of US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 10000 tons of bombs dropped on Afghan soil. (Socialist Worker Online, October 11, 2002) Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such massacre. While another report by Kate Randall on December 2001, put the number of US bombed dropped at 12000:
"Since the US launched the war on Afghanistan October 7, more than 12,000 US bombs have been dropped on the country. According to the Pentagon, about 60 percent of these bombs have been precision-guided by satellite or laser technology. However, many of these bombs—dropped by B-52s and other aircraft from tens of thousands of feet in the air—have strayed off course, hitting civilian targets." (WSWS, December 29, 2001)
In another report, a year after September 11, 2001, Matt Kelley of the Associated Press put the US munitions statistics as follows:
"U.S. and coalition airplanes have conducted more than 21,000 flights over Afghanistan, dropping more than 20,000 munitions. About 60 percent of the ordnance dropped on Afghanistan has been precision guided, the highest percentage in any conflict."
Similarly the Guardian reported on April 10, 2002:
"More than 22,000 weapons - ranging from cruise missiles to heavy fuel-air bombs - have been dropped on the country over the past six months…. US pilots dropped more than 6,600 joint direct attack munitions (J-dams), the satellite-guided bombs… One in four bombs and missiles dropped by the US on Afghanistan may have missed its target"
The new generations of hard target weapons whose warheads are made of uranium have contributed to the heavy contamination of land, water and general population. The carnage brought upon by the usage of these Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) would remain essentially forever. Depleted Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years. This means Afghans would be dying from cancers and other diseases for generations. For the past several years, the rate of various cancers have risen all over Afghanistan, however, the rate of this menace has been highest among the Pashtun people since they are on the receiving end of bombing raids. Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such barbarism.
The individual cases of slaughter are too many to list. However, I need to point out that American military shoots first and asks questions later. Many Afghans are shot on mere suspicion. In many cases, the person would be either going to work or coming from work.
The most serious of all the behaviors of the US military is their disregard for the privacy, dignity and lives of the Pashtun People. The behavior of the US military is similar to the South African police of the apartheid era entering Black African and Indian homes with no regard to their privacy. Similarly, American Soldiers enter Pashtun homes without any regard for their privacy and dignity. Moreover, they behave like thieves in the way they attack a residence at night when families are deep asleep. The entrances to peoples’ houses are blown with explosives and then men and boys are dragged from bed in full view of their children and wives. More often, before they could drag anyone from bed, they order their attack dogs to attack these families before they could leave their bedrooms. Consequently, many children are bitten to death. In many instances, after the inhabitants are bitten, the soldiers have shot indiscriminately. In Laghman Province, a man recalled the following event:
"At night, the Americans entered our homes, commandeered their attack dogs and then shot my son and my brother. I was asleep; when I woke up; a dog was standing next to me and bit me. Subsequent to that, the dogs pulled the corpse of my brother and son to the ally. We were terrified and abandoned our village."
In another case in Khost, in mid-December of 2008, the home of Dr. Bilal was raided by the US forces. The US forces mistaken believed he was linked to Al-Qaida network while he worked for the province public health department. The AFP reported the following:
"The Americans entered without warning. They first killed one of my nephews, Amin, who was 14 years old, who was sleeping next to a rifle," says Bilal Hassan, who works for the provincial department of health.
"My brother went out with a gun. He was shot down, like his wife who followed him," he says.
A sister-in-law was hit in the spinal cord and paralysed [sic].
"Then they released their dogs," the doctor remembers. The dogs attacked the bodies and bit off some of the fingers, he says. Then they bit the wounded woman and a child of five. "They took our savings, all our guns, used for self-defence [sic], and even papers for some of our properties.... Why did they do all that?"
The question is why are Pashtuns specifically targeted? One of the answers could be the racist mentality of the American military. However, the most likely explanation is that Pashtuns are the custodians of Afghanistan and they have defended Afghan independence throughout history. As long as the Pashtuns remain a potent force, US-NATO alliance would not only succeed but also face a realistic prospect of utter defeat.
In all fairness, other militaries exhibit dreadful behaviors as well. However, the US military appears to be one of the worst violators among the so-called democratic societies.
American over Reliance on Tajiks and Other Minorities
In the aftermath of 911, the Afghan Tajiks who were affiliated with the brutal and rapist organization of Northern Alliance or were supporters of these criminals stepped forward to the Bush Administration to accomplish two things. First, it was an opportunity for them to undermine the Pashtun (Afghan) majority of the country. These Northern Alliance elements were toppled by Taliban in 1996 after they carried out some of the most gruesome atrocities ever committed in Afghan history. The Northern Alliance was formed from war criminals, rapist and human rights violators. Thousands of women disappeared during the reign of the Northern Alliance. Second, by offering their services as mercenaries, the Northern Alliance wanted to take advantage of the situation to control the post-Taliban regime. Despite the massive air power and indiscriminate usage of wide array of bombs, the Northern Alliance failed to break through Taliban defenses situated 90 miles north of the Capital Kabul. After 45 days of bombing, Taliban decided to retreat to the countryside.
With the Taliban’s retreat, the Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul. The first task on their agenda was the firing of most civil servants that spoke Pashto. The imposition of minorities that constitute roughly 37% of the population on 63% Pashtun created resentment among the Pashtuns. It is worth mentioning that the CIA World Facts Book is grossly inaccurate when it comes to the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Dr Zirakyar has traced the pattern of false statistics in this book and presented his analysis as follows:
"Until 1991, this type of "finished intelligence" registered Pashtuns as majority of the Afghan population (50% as ethnic group and as language group). Almost a year later in April 1992, the Northern Alliance (Masood-Rabani group) took over the power in Kabul. The World Factbook 1992, considerably lowered the statistical significance of the Pashtun ethnic group and their language (Pashto): 38% as ethnic group, and 35% as language group. In World Factbook 2009, statistical data for Pashtuns shows improvement as ethnic group (42%) but remained the same as language group (35%)."
He established the true number representing the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan by tapping into the research of Wak Foundation:
"For the record, a six-year survey and research project (1991-1996) was conducted by WAK-Foundation for Afghanistan, the results of which was published in 1998 (1377 A.H.). According to this source, from the total population of Afghanistan, Pashtuns make up 62.73 percent as ethnic group and 55 percent as language group."
Based on the pattern of falsehood illustrated in the CIA World Facts Book and consistently presenting false information about the Pashtuns, it would not be far fetched to state that there is an international conspiracy against the Pashtuns. That is why; Pashtuns are killed in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.
In the post US invasion, Pashtuns were cleansed from many areas in Northern Afghanistan, where majority of the minority Tajik population is living. Pashtun lands were confiscated, forcing more than 300,000 Pashtuns to become refugees to neighboring Pakistan. This group of people formed the backbone of Taliban insurgency against the US and their mercenaries of the Northern Alliance.
Incidentally, the Afghan Tajiks and other minorities were lining up to become translators and falsely claiming to speak Pashto. These individuals intentionally while others due to ignorance of Pashto language labeled every Pashtun the Americans arrested as member of Taliban and Al Qaida. That is why; the youngest inmate in Guantanamo Bay was 11 years old. The unfair mentality of the American military and the animosity of the Tajiks and other minorities toward the Pashtuns resulted in many tragedies. Many innocent Pashtun men were tortured and killed in Bagram.
The reader might ask as to why Tajiks have this type of animosity toward the Pashtuns. The answer is Tajiks were mostly artisans, musicians-entertainers and refugees from Central Asia ungrateful for the life they had in Afghanistan. Similar to most minorities in different parts of the world, they also wanted to occupy the power in the country. However, they desired power at the expense of Pashtun majority.
Consequently, Pashtuns whether they agreed with Taliban or not joined Taliban led insurgency to secure their rights. To this end, both Americans and their mercenaries have become their targets. Meanwhile, the Afghan National Army (ANA), which hardly has a national character, is dominated by Tajiks. Majority of the commanders of the ANA are Tajiks. Equally, the current President, who is from Kandahar, is more than eager to please these criminal elements of the Northern Alliance by instituting their language as the administrative language ignoring Pashto and Pashtuns. It is speculated that Karzai is half-Pashtun, hence, the influence of his maternal uncles, who are qazelbash, on him drew him away from his own language. At this point it is purely speculative; however, Pashtuns are trying to rationalize the indifference of Karzai by presenting various explanations.
This unnatural arrangement and oppression of the Pashtuns inspired Pashtuns to fight against Americans and their installed regime in Kabul.
Americans Lack of knowledge of the Pashtun Culture
Lack of knowledge of Pashtun culture is another important factor ensuring US’s defeat in Afghanistan. There are two sources wherein this lack contributes to the permanence of hostility of Pashtuns toward the US and her allies. The first issue is the tribal structure and the cohesion within the tribes in matters of self-defense. When a member of the tribe or sub-tribe is killed, the killer is not only the enemy of the family whose member he has killed, but rather he has gained the enmity of the tribe whose member he has murdered. Thus, the US forces have turned tribes, sub-tribes and villages against them by slaughtering their members in the hundreds and thousands. The second source is a tenet of the Pashtunwali—the Pashtun Code of Honor. This tenet is that of revenge, which goes hand in hand with tribal cohesion. A Pashtun father, brother, and son and tribesmen have to avenge the death of their relative. There is an old saying that after a Pashtun took his revenge after100 years, he said, "I think I rushed it." This points to the permanence of hostility.
Surge or the Final Nails in the Coffin of US’s Defeat
With the hoopla of surge and new strategy, the US politicians and military leaders lack complete awareness of the Afghan society, especially the Pashtun culture. To the Pashtun people surge means continuation of the indignity imposed on them by the US and her allies. This means more Afghan civilians would die. This also means the continuation of the same pattern of disregard to the privacy of Pashtuns’ homes. In essence, Pashtuns view this as affirmation by the part of the political and military leaders that the crimes they have committed for the past 8 years are not crimes, but rather righteousness which adds insult to injury.
Furthermore, this would increase the resolve of the Afghan insurgency and their supporters. Meanwhile, the insurgents are working on obtaining modern Russian Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers. In the past, Afghan Mujahideen used RPG7; however, RPG7 is not effective against NATO armor. Hence, the most effective weapon would be RPG32, which penetrates all NATO and US armor vehicles and tanks. Furthermore, insurgents are also working on obtaining modern version of SAM7 anti aircraft shoulder-held missiles. This would be the final nails in the coffin of US’s defeat in Afghanistan.
I have tried in vain to get the attention of the US political and military leaders with my peace proposal to institute permanent peace in Afghanistan. But unfortunately, they showed no interest for the most part. My proposal 'White Paper for Permanent Peace in Afghanistan’ is a comprehensive approach to a long lasting peace for Afghanistan.
After receiving cold shoulders from political and military leadership, I came to hypothesize that they must be gaining financial benefits in the form of contracts or perhaps even kickbacks. Otherwise, it would be natural to seek peace than war especially when the insurgency has gained a lot of momentum.
The above-mentioned factors outline a pattern of hatred and killing. This pattern contributed to the permanence of hatred and enmity of Americans and their allies. The violations outlined depict acts of righteousness on the part of the American forces and points to strong conviction on the part of the US-NATO forces to continue committing atrocities.
Finally, President Obama’s speech in Norway by referring to the genocide in Afghanistan as a 'just war’ is adding insult to injury. The award of the Nobel Prize to the President of a country that is actively murdering Afghans and turning their environment uninhabitable with the continued usage of uranium munitions is a travesty of justice and an abomination that should be condemned worldwide. Moreover, the award of the Nobel Prize is affirmation of support on the part of the Western establishment that the murder and genocide of the Pashtun people is acceptable, and it strengthens the hypothesis that the war on terror is in part an international conspiracy against the Pashtun Nation.