Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

This issue is a hot item up in northeast Indiana; there isn’t a news segment that isn’t devoted to the subject.  My wife asked me the other day why the Air Force would want to get rid of the A-110 at the 122nd Fighter Wing.  Isn’t it obvious?  They want to be able to spy on the American people at will.

Since September 11, 2001, Americans have been targeted as potential terrorists – or Enemies of the State.  Now I see the hilarity behind the Family Guy episode when Lois Griffin was running for mayor; when faced with an issue she had no way to address (instead of spouting some nonsensical word), she simply said, “9/11”  Get it?

Most Americans will have no problem with this.  Afterall, they’re not planning to blow up the government.  Well, neither am I, but at least I care for my rights. 

U.S. citizens are now the primary target of the war on terror

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Friday, February 10, 2012

With the announcement that 30,000 drones are expected to fill American skies within ten years, the U.S. government has officially declared war on the American people, turning to technology normally used to hunt down insurgents abroad as the whole arsenal of the war on terror is re-focused domestically.

The State Has Declared War On The American People 19271

“The Federation Aviation Administration said up to 30,000 drones could be in airspace shared with airliners carrying passengers,” reports UPI.

Once signed by president Obama, the FAA Reauthorization Act allows for the FAA to permit the use of drones and develop regulations for testing and licensing by 2015.

Some types of surveillance drones are already being used by police departments across the country, including in Montgomery County, Texas, where the Department of Homeland Security recently gave the go-ahead for law enforcement in the United States to deploy the ShadowHawk mini drone drone helicopter that has the ability to taze suspects from above as well as carrying 12-gauge shotguns and grenade launchers.

US law enforcement bodies are already using drone technology to spy on Americans. In December, a Predator B drone was called in to conduct surveillance over a family farm in North Dakota as part of a SWAT raid on the Brossart family, who were suspects in the egregious crime of stealing six missing cows. Local police in this one area have already used the drone on two dozen occasions since June last year.

The DHS also recently announced a plan to spend up to $50 million dollars on a spy system that has been used to hunt insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.

While preparing the use of surveillance drones against Americans, the U.S. government is also keen to characterize a myriad of behaviors and activities, no matter how normal or mundane, as potential indicators of terrorism, encouraging citizens to spy on each other in a chilling throwback to how people were hired as informants under the East German Stasi.

As part of its Communities Against Terrorism program, the FBI is encouraging business owners from across the spectrum to spy on their customers.

Lists of examples of “suspicious behavior” being sent out to everything from Internet Cafes to tattoo parlors define things like paying for a cup of coffee with cash, buying food in bulk, and showing an interest in online privacy as evidence of potential terrorist activity.

The DHS has also released numerous PSAs that depict routine activities as potential signs of terrorism, including using a video camera, talking to police officers, wearing hoodies, driving vans, writing on a piece of paper, and using a cell phone recording application.

The federal agency attracted much derision last week when it announced that Super Bowl vendors, including hot dog sellers, had been trained to spot terrorists under the First Observer program.

Even more chilling, the feds have also begun to characterize perfectly legitimate political and economic beliefs as those held by terrorists, effectively denouncing them as thought crimes.

As Reuters reported on Monday, authorities are now treating those who “believe the United States went bankrupt by going off the gold standard” as extremists who are a potential violent threat to law enforcement. The DHS has also previously characterized returning veterans, Ron Paul supporters, gold investors, and people who display political bumper stickers as potential domestic terrorists.

All this serves to underscore the fact that the American people have now been targeted as the number one terror threat in the eyes of the authorities. The state has declared war on U.S. citizens. Not only will they be subject to surveillance and intimidation campaigns, but with the recent passage of the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA, the government has afforded itself the power to hold Americans without trial.

Unconventional warfare (United States Departme...

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I’ve been called just about everything in the book – un-patriotic, anti-American, liberal, conservative, and anti-military.  It never seems to amaze me that those who lack enough argument would stoop to levels of political name calling.  However, I would like to comment on one of these – anti-military.

Every nation needs a military, of this there are no doubts.  And every has the right to the military of its choosing.

It seems more and more everyday news is coming to light of soldiers suffering from amputated limbs, brain damage, or the subject of the following article – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The longer our nation engages in unchecked conflicts and entanglements, the more men we create with wounds we cannot see; but according to some, these wounds are worse than dying.

So I will say this: If I were an impressionable young man or woman seeking employment in the service of our nation, I would delve deep into our nation’s history of caring for its veterans.

Now to the news.

USA Today

A leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder is guilt that troops experience because of moral dilemmas faced in combat, according to preliminary findings of a study of active-duty Marines.

The conflicts that servicemembers feel may include “survivor’s guilt,” from living through an attack in which other servicemembers died, and witnessing or participating in the unintentional killing of women or children, researchers involved in the study say.

“How do they come to terms with that? They have to forgive themselves for pulling the trigger,” says retired Navy captain Bill Nash, a psychiatrist and study co-author.

The idea of “moral injury” as a cause of PTSD is new to psychiatry. The American Psychiatric Association is only now considering new diagnostic criteria for the disorder that would include feelings of shame and guilt, says David Spiegel, a member of the working group rewriting the PTSD section.

Traditionally, PTSD symptoms such as nightmares or numbness to the world have been linked to combat violence, fear of being killed or loss of friends.

Half of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs have been diagnosed with mental health issues and the most common is PTSD, which is experienced by nearly 200,000 of these veterans, according to the VA.

PTSD caused by moral injury can lead to more severe reactions such as family violence or even suicide, says Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist who has worked on military mental health policies.

The Marine Corps study helps expand the knowledge of the relationship between moral injury and PTSD, says Shira Maguen, a psychologist and VA researcher who has studied links between killing and the disorder among Vietnam War, Gulf War and Iraq War veterans.

“This (Marine Corps) study is important because so little work has been done to understand moral injury in a scientific context,” Maguen says.

The ongoing research involves about 2,600 Marines and sailors examined before and after combat tours.

The preliminary findings on moral injury were gleaned from 208 Marines involved in severe combat in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. It showed that three months after coming home, 7% of the Marines likely had PTSD. Their condition was more closely linked to an inner conflict rather than threats to their lives, the sight of bodies or blood or family problems, the study said.

In every war there is a loss of life, and sometimes that loss of life are the innocent.  People who are just like us – they just want to live their lives.  How long does America think that we can carry on this charade?  Or as one person that I read one time wrote “war itself is terrorism.”

guardian.co.uk

Four Afghan civilians were mistakenly killed and two others injured in an attack by a remotely controlled RAF “drone” targeting insurgent leaders in Helmand province, the Guardian has learned.

The airstrike marks the first confirmed operation in which one of the UK’s Reaper aircraft has been responsible for the deaths of civilians, and comes amid growing concern on both sides of the Atlantic about increased use of drones in combat zones.

The revelation may also complicate the task of British commanders in the province as they try to secure the trust of local people ahead of “transition” – the symbolic moment later this month when Afghan forces take the lead for security in areas currently under UK control.

However, the British military remain convinced about the use of Reapers and insist the civilian deaths were due to intelligence failures on the ground rather than problems with the aircraft. Military officials have told the Guardian it is possible that almost one third of the RAF could be made up of remotely controlled aircraft within 20 years, such is the confidence in their capability.

The airstrike that caused the civilian casualties was meant to kill a Taliban commander who was being tracked on the ground in the Now Zad district of north Helmand. According to sources, the leader was correctly identified and the Reaper, which was flying close by, was instructed to attack. The Reaper pilots were thousands of miles away at a US Airforce base in Nevada when they were given the all clear to fire on two trucks.

Both vehicles were destroyed – at least one of them is thought to have been packed with explosive. An insurgent commander and an associate were killed, but it soon became clear that civilians were also in the vehicles.

“It was extremely unfortunate that the civilians were killed,” said a Whitehall source. “The attack would not have taken place if we had known that there were civilians in the vehicles as well.”

The incident took place on 25 March this year and an inquiry was launched by investigators from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF confirmed that “civilians were discovered in the vehicles following the airstrike during a battle damage assessment”; this was conducted by soldiers sent to confirm what had happened.

“This is the first case when civilian deaths have been caused by one of our Reapers,” said the source. “There has been a comprehensive investigation to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret and we take every possible measure to avoid such incidents. On 25 March a UK Reaper was tasked to engage and destroy two pick up trucks. The strike resulted in the deaths of two insurgents and the destruction of a significant quantity of explosives being carried on the trucks. Sadly, four Afghan civilians were also killed and a further two Afghan civilians were injured. There are strict procedures, frequently updated in light of experience, intended to both minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen.

“An ISAF investigation was conducted to establish if any lessons could be learnt from the incident or if errors in operational procedures could be identified; the report noted that the UK Reaper’s crews actions had been in accordance with procedures and UK Rules of Engagement.”

The families of the civilian victims will be entitled to compensation if they report to a British base and can prove their identity.

Chris Cole, a campaigner who runs the Drone Wars UK website, which monitors the development of unmanned weapons systems, said he was concerned at the time it took for the attack to be made public.

“The secrecy and lack of accountability surrounding the use of British armed drones is a matter of great concern. There needs to be a full and public investigation of all the issues raised by the increasing use of armed unmanned drones by British forces.”

The RAF has been piloting Reapers from Creech Air Force base in Nevada since late 2007. The MoD bought the aircraft as an “urgent operational requirement” to help in the fight against the Taliban. Since then the Reapers have flown a total of 23,400 hours and fired 176 missiles and laser guided bombs. Last year David Cameron said 124 insurgents had been killed by UK drones during their Afghan deployment.

The RAF’s leading expert on Reapers, Wing Commander Chris Thirtle, told the Guardian some pilots in the future may never have to actually fly aircraft, beyond their initial training. Instead, they will be trained to use remote controlled aircraft for combat missions.

Most of the concern about drones has centred on their extensive use by the CIA and American military commanders to attack al-Qaida commanders in Pakistan. Some studies have estimated that hundreds of civilians have also been killed in these strikes.

In 2009 an RAF drone fired on suspected insurgents in Sangin, helping Royal Marines who were patrolling in the area. The attack is thought to have injured two children, who were flown to the British base at Camp Bastion for treatment.

Rick Rozoff
Global Research,
Nov 12, 2010

The mainstream news media and alternative sources alike have seized on a recent revelation – though it is hardly such – published by McClatchy Newspapers that “The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to remove emphasis from Barack Obama’s pledge that he would begin withdrawing US forces in July 2011.” [1]

An article in this series of over a month earlier, U.S. And NATO To Wage War 15-Year War In Afghanistan And Pakistan [2], documented that much and more, and any attentive reader of news on the Internet during the preceding weeks would not have been surprised by the McClatchy feature.

On October 25 Edmund Whiteside, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Council Secretary, spoke at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and according to the local press said, “Expect the war in Afghanistan — the longest military engagement in both Canadian and American history — to continue for a ‘very long’ time.” In his exact words, “Afghanistan will be a very long military venture.”

His position will be confirmed at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal next week, as will a major commitment demanded by the U.S.-dominated military bloc’s new Strategic Concept to be adopted at the meeting: The retention of nuclear arms in NATO’s arsenal and the continued stationing of American nuclear bombs in Europe. Whiteside also argued: “Canada says that it doesn’t need ballistic missiles. But Canada is part of a nuclear policy alliance. There’s no getting around that….” [3]

On November 8, the day before the McClatchy article appeared, the spokesman for the 152,000-troop, 50-nation, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, German Brigadier-General Josef Blotz, stated that “no timetable has been set for withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan.”

Blotz confirmed that “There has been no timetable yet.”

In regard to transferring security control to Afghan forces, he said, “We will not [proceed] according to a fixed timetable, it will be carried out based on conditions to be achieved over the next couple of years.” [4]

On November 11, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada spoke on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea and said that “he’s decided…to keep troops in Afghanistan in a noncombat training role after Canada’s combat mission ends in 2011.”

Associated Press cited a senior Canadian government official verifying that his nation “will keep 750 military trainers and 250 support staff in Afghanistan until 2014….” [5]

A similarly bleak perspective on any withdrawal – or beginning of one – next year was offered on the preceding day by the commander of British forces in southern Afghanistan, Major General Nick Carter, who “gave a devastating assessment of the war effort in Afghanistan.”

Full article here

It’s not like the United States and Russia is locked in nuclear standoff, just waiting to see who has the bravery to fire the first missile.  It’s not like Russia once again is putting nuclear warheads ninety miles off of our southern coast.

In the event of a nuclear emergency, members of Congress and the President have a place to go, but the American people won’t.  When the nukes fly and the sirens wail, we will be watching the mushroom clouds, and whistling Dixie.

So why is Russia Today reporting that emergency bomb shelters to be built in Moscow before the end of 2012?  Well, their reason is that the ones from the Cold War are drastically outdated.  Makes sense.  But if we think of this logically, the Age of Nuclear Threat has never truly passed. 

The United States says that Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons.  We invaded Iraq based on the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Our forces are in Afghanistan are trying to establish a “tolerant” society, when in reality, we are just trying to create a puppet government.  Iran sells the Taliban weapons and Saudi Arabia gives them money.  The Taliban gets help from bases in Pakistan and to “buy” influence, the United States gives Pakistan money.

Did I mention that Pakistan has nuclear weapons?

In the 1980’s, the United States created, funded, and supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda in various ways.  Now look where we are, stuck in a quagmire.  Afghanistan’s government is frought with corruption, our forces don’t know who are their friends, so how do we think that doing the same thing that started all of this will somehow have a better outcome?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was right; we are fighting the situation that we caused.

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Senator Lindsey Graham spoke the same fearmonger/warmonger propaganda recently, urging President Obama to strike Iran and cripple “their ability to wage war.”  He even said that we are probably past that point.  This speech of stopping their ability to “wage war” sounds a lot like the rhetoric that we’ve heard from then-President George W. Bush, when he urged the American people to support his backtrack of foreign policy and used the same excuse.

“Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies. And that’s a different military scenario. It’s not a ground invasion but it certainly destroys the ability of the regime to strike back.”

As far as I know, Iran hasn’t lobbed one weapon towards the continental United States or Iraq, or Afghanistan.  It’s not a “ground invasion”, but an invasion just the same.  And for the President to order such an attack without a Declaration of War from Congress is illegal.

Speaking on terms of retaliation on Iran’s part, Graham said:

“You can expect that,” he said. “You can expect, for a period of time, all hell to break loose. You must have to almost plan for that. And weigh that against the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran and what that means to the future of the world.”

Well, it’s finally time that someone admittted the obvious.

Graham said the current sanctions on Iran are not “crippling”.  Now by what he means by “crippling”, he didn’t elaborate, and, furthermore, I don’t think that even he knows.  Sanctions are an act of war and aggression, and they don’t work.  Before WWII, sanctions created Hitler.  During the ’90s, sanctions killed more that 500,000 people in Iraq.

Iran has said that if we attack (and they have a right to) they will retaliate on our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and most certainly Israel.  War begetts more war and brings no resemblance of peace.

Our current state in the Middle East is precarious at best.  Iraq and Afghanistan are complete failures, and we are told that bin Laden is in Pakistan; adding more fuel to the military industrial complex’s war machine.  In an attempt to “fight terrorism” the United States government is trying to buy Pakistan’s alliegance, which by most reports, isn’t working.

Broadening our war machine to Iran will invigorate al-Qaeda and we will be fighting a well-armed military.  Blood will be shed for a conflict that has no end in sight.  By the end, the American people will be asking the most obvious of questions, “why did we do this for?”  But this may come at a time when it is too late for the United States to realize the fact.

Barack Obama Hillary Clinton

When we look at Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of “why we went over there” as compared to now, we see that they are complete failures.  No weapons of mass destruction.  No legitamate government to take its place.  Osama bin Laden has never been found.  And if he is dead, the government doesn’t want that information to leak out.

We know now that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never existed.  And yet, this event in 1964 lead to a nine year conflict and 60,000 lives lost.  In 1965 President Johnson would say privately:  “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”

We know that September 11, 2001 happened, we saw it with our own eyes.  And while many Amer’cans, like myself, have questions surrounding that day, that is a discussion best left for another time.

But why attack Afghanistan when fifteen of the nineteen hijackers came from Saudi Arabia?  A Saudi Arabia that we still sell arms to.  I read in the paper today that from 2005 to 2009 that the Department of Defense had not kept proper track – if they ever did – of the weapons they sold in the Middle East.

Does this come as a surprise?  Draw your own conclusions.  Here are a couple of snippets of a Huffington Post article about the divides in the Obama administration’s foreign policy.  We are never leaving, at least not on our own accord.  I found this on Campaign for Liberty, but added my own thoughts.

During a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Afghan President Hamid Karzai in May, Gates reminded the group that he still feels guilty for his role in the first President Bush’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, according to Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars.” And to express his commitment to not letting down the country again, he emphasized:

We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely,” Gates finally said. “In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.”

“You have to recognize that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”