Rahman died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold cement wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, known as the Salt Pit. He was suspected of links to the terrorist group al-Qaida. Rahman is the only detainee known to have died in a CIA-run prison.
Al-Jamadi died in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The death has been known to the public for years and a military autopsy declared al-Jamadi's death a homicide.' Full details here.
Posted by TONY on 30.6.11
Such feelings explain, at least in part, why, while the rest of the Arab world is in ferment, Saudis, of whom 70% are under 30 and 35% are under 16, have remained largely quiet. Despite overseas attention focused on a few incidents of protest, scores of interviews over two weeks in deeply conservative areas, the capital, Riyadh, and relatively liberal Jeddah have revealed a country in which a growing desire for reform is a very long way from anything approaching mass dissent. Read More.
Posted by TONY on 30.6.11
Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the Iraq war. Forty-five hundred members of our armed forces have sacrificed their lives. Nearly 32,000 American troops have been wounded on the battlefield of Iraq. And yet this is the news that greeted America this spring: “Syria and Iraq Eager for Cooperation with Iran in Building Joint Gas Pipeline.”
Then there’s this nugget of news about post-Saddam Hussein Iraq: Iraq’s foreign minister said during a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart that “the two sides plan to ink several agreements during the (Iranian vice president’s) visit to Baghdad on July 6.”
It must be asked: Did we sacrifice all of that precious American blood and treasure so that Iraq can join with anti-U.S. regimes in Syria and Iran to supply Arab states with Iran’s huge natural gas supplies? Iraq was liberated for that?
The question is relevant in the context of President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he has decided to keep 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for at least the next two years. Yes, the president also said that he plans to remove 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and that a total of 33,000 troops will be brought home by next summer. But all this really means that Obama intends to reduce American troop levels only by the “surge” number that he announced at West Point in December 2009. The upshot is that there still will be tens of thousands of American boots on the ground policing the streets and patrolling the mountains of Afghanistan well into the future. And toward what end?
The question of endgame got muddled in Iraq. Today it is the question for Afghanistan, and there still is no clarity, at least not an answer that makes sense from the standpoint of U.S. national interests. Al-Qaida is still dangerous, as Obama acknowledges. But more than half of its leadership has been taken out, and the other half is on the run. The Taliban has strongholds in Afghanistan, but it does not now, nor has it ever, a threat to U.S. soil. How does it serve U.S. interests to keep playing Sugar Daddy to a country that wants our money and guns but is too embarrassed to stand side by side with us in the daylight?
The president’s stated objective in Afghanistan is to strengthen the capacity of that country to fend for itself. But what does that really mean?
It certainly doesn’t include the defeat of the Afghan Taliban that provided the al-Qaida network with a haven in Afghanistan. Au contraire. Obama spoke this week of reaching a political settlement in that land of war. “America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban,” he said. Clearly he envisions a future with the Taliban sharing power in that country.
Imagine that. More than $444 billion spent and over 1,500 American lives given in Afghanistan, all to make it possible for the corrupt regime of President Hamid Karzai to cut a deal with the brazenly ruthless Taliban. Toward what end? An Iraqi outcome, that’s what.
Expect at some point a Taliban-infused Afghanistan to follow the lead of the Iraqis and work out their own mutual economic agreements with U.S. foes in the region.
All those bonds we floated to pay for those wars. All those American men and women who, as Obama put it so eloquently, “will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended.” All those lost limbs. All those broken bodies with wounded minds. All those losses, so that Iraq and Afghanistan can one day enjoy bountiful relations and have a lasting peace with nations that hate our guts.
Posted by TONY on 29.6.11
Posted by TONY on 28.6.11
If you didn't think David Petraeus had a lot to answer for already, you will after reading this story of a good man driven beyond what could be tolerated.
'Before putting a bullet through his head, Westhusing had been deeply disturbed by abuses carried out by American contractors in Iraq, including allegations that they had witnessed or even participated in the murder of Iraqis. His suicide note included claims that his two commanders, Lt. Gen. Petraeus and Maj. Gen. Josephy Fil tolerated a mission based on "corruption, human rights abuses and liars. I am sullied -- no more. I didn't volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves." One of those commanders: the future leader of American forces in Iraq, and then Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus.' Full story here.
Posted by TONY on 27.6.11
'Under this insincere support for Egypt’s pro-democracy movement, McCain critiqued Obama for being “behind the curve” before and after Mubarak resigned. Although criticism of the White House’s slow response time is justified, the Senator should keep his attention in front of him. Relatively speaking, McCain has ridden side by side with Obama as Washington clung to a “peaceful and orderly transition.” This phrase, which remains in use in Syria and Yemen, has become symbolic of chaos and imperialism.And no sooner had Mubarak resigned did McCain switch his tone, insisting, “This was obviously a very difficult decision for President Mubarak, but it is the right decision for Egypt. History will note that President Mubarak’s last action in office was in the best interest of the country he loves.” From James Gundun at The Trench.
Posted by TONY on 27.6.11
Posted by TONY on 25.6.11
Posted by TONY on 24.6.11
|Iraqis Enjoying The Benefits of US Nation Building|
Bad model for his developing 'Mission Accomplished' spin in the run up to the 'drawdown'. Just about as bad as his analogy with Libya where he is selling the deal as the US facilitating others (NATO) to 'assist' in........ In what exactly? Nation building?
Posted by TONY on 23.6.11
Britain and France began deploying attack helicopters as part of the NATO-led mission earlier this month to boost the alliance's firepower and flexibility against Gadhafi's forces.NATO had previously relied on jets that generally fly above 15,000 feet (4,500 meters) - nearly three miles (five kilometers) high. The attack helicopters give the alliance a key advantage in close-up combat, flying at much lower altitudes. Airstrikes by attack jets remain the backbone of NATO's Libya campaign, however.At least one distant explosion rumbled across Tripoli Tuesday as warplanes roared overhead. It wasn't immediately clear what was hit or whether there were casualties.What started as a peaceful uprising inside the country against Gadhafi and his more than four-decade rule has devolved into a civil war. Rebels control the eastern third of the country and pockets in the west, and are trying to push their front line forward from their western stronghold of Misrata toward the nearby city of Zlitan. More Here.
In one almost unbelievable scenario, the soldiers considered throwing "candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village and shoot[ing] the children who came running to pick up the sweets. According to one soldier, they also talked about a second scenario in which they 'would throw candy out in front and in the rear of the Stryker; the Stryker would then run the children over.'" MORE HERE.
Depuis le début de la contestation à la mi-mars, le régime Syrien n'a eu de cesse d'agiter le spectre du sectarisme et de la guerre civile pour convaincre les minorités ethniques et religieuses de ne pas rejoindre la contestation.
Une information qui, selon le professeur américain Joshua Landis, auteur du blog Syria Comment, "ne peut pas être vraie". "Les tribus alaouites n'ont pratiquement plus aucune cohésion et n'ont pas de chefs qui peuvent parler au nom du clan afin de le dissocier des Assad", analyse-t-il.
Aerial intervention, as was discovered in the Balkans, is a very difficult way of going to war. It is slow, and uncertain, and accelerates war-weariness. In addition to the strategic and tactical mistakes, however, in this war political mistakes have worsened the situation.here.
|Brian Haw. Proudly Remembered. One less good man in the fight against the madness. RIP.|
|Humanitarian Bombing Courtesy of NATO|
Libya was Obama's first true war. He aimed to show how Democrats manage international military efforts differently than neo-cons like Bush. He built an international coalition. He made the case on humanitarian grounds. He declared a short time span.
In three short months, all of Obama's plans have fallen apart. NATO itself is fracturing. There is talk about dissolving it entirely. The Libya mission is stretching out into 2011 and beyond. From Here.
Posted by TONY on 16.6.11
After the debacle of the Republican debate on Monday, it's nice to see the level of internal US politics being raised above the banal, venal and frankly demeaning state illustrated by the wooden and predicatable participants. Here is a real story to show that the political debate within the US is in a healthy place.
Video clip here.
Posted by TONY on 14.6.11
The first attempt to take statements from Iraqis in Lebanon ended when investigators were asked to leave by the authorities there.A second attempt in Turkey ended when an interviewee objected to the questioning. He cut short the interview and flew home to Iraq."It was a multiple of serious errors they made. They clearly haven't been trained," he said.He said the law classifies his clients as "vulnerable and intimidated witnesses".Despite an agreement with IHAT to use civilian Achieving Best Evidence guidelines, he said investigators failed to follow them."I have a duty to them. I could not advise them, some of whom have been raped, that they should go through this," he said.They pulled out of the process, which means no more interviews can take place.MORE HERE
Posted by TONY on 14.6.11
For the first time ever, ordinary Russians can now see documents that appear to confirm long-standing rumors that Vladimir Lenin had Jewish heritage. In Moscow, a new exhibition traces what may be Lenin's Jewish rootsAmong dozens of newly released documents on display at the State History Museum is a letter written by Lenin's eldest sister, Anna Ulyanova, saying that their maternal grandfather was a Ukrainian Jew who converted to Christianity to escape the Pale of Settlement and gain access to higher education.
"He came from a poor Jewish family and was, according to his baptismal certificate, the son of Moses Blank, a native of (the western Ukrainian city of) Zhitomir," Ulyanova wrote in a 1932 letter to Josef Stalin, who succeeded Lenin after his death in 1924.
"Vladimir Ilych had always thought of Jews highly," she wrote. "I am very sorry that the fact of our origin — which I had suspected before — was not known during his lifetime."
Under czarist rule, most Jews were allowed permanent residence only in a restricted area that became known as the Pale of Settlement which included much of present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and parts of western Russia.
Many Jews joined the Bolsheviks to fight rampant anti-Semitism in czarist Russia and some were among the leaders of the Communist Party when it took power after the 1917 Revolution. Most prominent among them was Leon Trotsky, whose real name was Bronstein.
Posted by TONY on 12.6.11
Representative Dana Rohrabacher spoke during a one-day visit by a group of six US Congress members. The California Republican said he raised the suggestion during a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki that some day when Iraq is a “prosperous” country it pay back the US for everything that it has done here.
“We would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the megadollars we have spent here in the last eight years,” Rohrabacher told reporters at the US embassy after the meeting.
He did not say what reaction, if any, the prime minister had to the suggestion.
However, Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said Rohrabacher’s reported comments were “irresponsible.”
“Those people are not welcome in Iraq. They are raising a controversial issue which influences the strategic relation between us and the United States,” he said.
“They are asking for compensation for the war and we are not committed to pay anything to any of the people who participated in the invasion of Iraq,” he told Reuters.
Dabbagh said Rohrabacher had not expressed this opinion when he met Maliki.
He added he had called the US embassy in Iraq when he learned of the congressman’s comments at the news conference but was told by the embassy that Rohrabacher’s statement represented his own opinion and not the official position of the United States.
The idea of repaying the United States for a war that the vast majority of Iraqis had no role in bringing about would likely gain little traction with an Iraqi public that harbours mixed emotions about the US invasion.
While many Iraqis are glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, they blame the United States for the chaos and sectarian violence that followed.
The Baghdad city government earlier this year demanded the US pay $1 billion for damage caused to the city by blast walls erected during the war.
There are currently about 47,000 American forces in Iraq.
Discussion is intensifying about whether Iraq will ask American troops to stay past the Dec.31 deadline for their departure..
Leon Panetta, who has been nominated to take over the Pentagon, said earlier last week during a confirmation hearing that Iraq would likely ask the US to keep some American troop presence past 2011.Spokesman Dabbagh said on Friday a meeting headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani could be held next week to discuss the sensitive issue.
While overall violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since the peak of sectarian warfare in 2006-2007, Iraqi security forces continue to fight a weakened but still lethal insurgency.
Bombings and other attacks occur daily.
The total of US military casualties in Iraq since 2003 stands at 4,459, according to the icasualties.org website.
In the biggest single loss of life since 2009, five US soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a Baghdad base on Monday and another US soldier was killed in southern Iraq on Wednesday, the US military said.
Posted by TONY on 11.6.11
|Blair and Brown With Their Mutual Mentor|
Archbishop of Canterbury: "no one voted" for the coalition's policies
Posted by TONY on 8.6.11