Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, began 12 years ago Monday…There are still 54,000 American troops in Afghanistan and the number of coalition bases has gone from a high of 800 to about 100, Stars and Stripes reported…
Discussion and media interest about Afghanistan have faded since President Obama ordered a troop surge three years ago, but a White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Obama is avoiding public discussion, Stars and Stripes said.
A. Trevor Thrall, a professor at George Mason University, said this isn’t the first time a president has tried to avoid news out of Afghanistan, the report said.
“George W. Bush stopped talking about Afghanistan almost immediately after he shifted focus to Iraq,” Thrall said. “Afghanistan was truly a forgotten war [when] Obama took over and it became it again after the surge was over. The result is the public really has no idea what’s going on there.”
Troops still in Afghanistan told Stars and Stripes they have mixed feelings about the lack of attention.
“It’s kind of sad, because I think some people are a little more occupied with the latest TV show,” said Lt. Uriel Macias, a Navy reservist assigned to a stability operations team in Kabul. “But what is often forgotten is that we are still losing people all the time.”
Of course, we could have left a long time ago – just as we could have stayed out of Iraq altogether. But, that not only would have required reason and objectivity among our elected officials in the White House and Congress – it would have required courage in the face of right-wing chickenhawks, war-lovers and profiteers.
Not especially likely in the Land of Liberty.
The public debate over the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the Bush-Cheney administration will be reignited in the coming days, thanks to a new congressional report…
President Obama banned the use of torture as one of his first acts in office. But some (though not all) Republicans claim that “enhanced interrogation techniques” on al Qaida operatives following 9/11 kept the country safe.
And a few more, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, even go as far to argue that intelligence from “enhanced interrogation techniques” made it possible for Obama to order the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The contempt I feel for these fascist-minded creeps beggars description.
But a 6,000-page report, scheduled to be approved on Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to conclude that “none of this enhanced interrogation worked,” according to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff at the State Department during Gen. Colin Powell’s term.
“[Torture techniques] did not, as Cheney has alleged, lead to the killing of bin Laden,” Wilkerson, a frequent Cheney critic, told Ed Schultz on Tuesday’s edition of The Ed Show on MSNBC. “It was counterproductive. It was damaging to our reputation and he’s still lying about it…”
The Senate Intelligence Committee, however, is not planning to make the findings of the report immediately public, The Hill reports. Even if the secretive panel approves the report on Thursday, there will still be a lengthy review process in which the White House, the intelligence community and members of the panel will determine what information can be declassified and released to the public.
Wilkerson believes at least “portions” of the report should be made public.
“We should have some reckoning,” Wilkerson told Schultz. “If we’re not going to hold people accountable, we should at least let the American people know what was done in their name that basically constituted war crimes.”
Torture has been rationalized away in modern times by the worst murderers, the most egregious and arrogant thugs in history. From Himmler to Cheney, these corrupt slimeballs convince themselves of their success by adding crimes against humanity to their roll of deceit and lies.
Governments founded on their lies dishonor the nations they serve, the citizens they say they represent. Though history makes it clear that these torturers demonstrate only contempt for the ordinary people they say they are saving.
The Pakistani medical official who ran a fake CIA vaccination programme to help find Osama bin Laden has been jailed for 33 years.
A spokesman for Khyber Agency, an administrative unit in Pakistan’s restless frontier, said Dr Shakil Afridi would face decades in jail – despite calls from senior US officials to release the man who helped with efforts to track down the al-Qaida chief.
The tough sentence for the former surgeon general of Khyber will be taken as another sign of the terrible state of US-Pakistan relations.
Also a sign of the terrible state of what passes for justice in Pakistan.
And it will further alarm western critics of Pakistan who say the country has put far more effort into trying to understand how US spies and special forces were able to plan and launch the Bin Laden raid than into how the al-Qaida leader was able to remain for so long in the Pakistani army garrison town of Abbottabad.
The sentence was announced just days after Barack Obama snubbed the Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, by refusing to hold a formal meeting with him at the NATO conference in Chicago…
There had been hopes that Afridi would eventually be quietly released after the controversy surrounding the Bin Laden raid had subsided…
With friends like this…
Why not take something like 10% of the money we waste by handing it over to the Pakistan government – and just use it to bribe the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban? Let them divvy it up among local gangsters.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Hundreds of supporters of Osama bin Laden rallied in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta to pay tribute to former al-Qaeda chief on the first anniversary of his death.
Around 1,000 activists from the pro-Taliban Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam religious political party gathered on Wednesday in the city’s central Mezan square. They were carrying bin Laden posters, shouting “Long Live Osama” and torched a US flag…
“Osama was a hero of the whole Muslim world, he was the real mujahid [holy warrior],” Abdul Qadir Looni, a party leader said while addressing the rally…
Pakistani officials said security agencies had been ordered to be “extra vigilant” on Wednesday. Last year, the Taliban carried out a string of revenge attacks that included a suicide bombing on a police training centre that killed nearly 100 people…
Wednesday’s anniversary of one of the most humiliating episodes fro Pakistan caps a devastating year for the country.
Its reputation has been dragged deeper through the mud and its relationship with the US is as bad as ever, as questions about Islamabad’s intelligence failures or complicity with al-Qaeda remain unanswered.
A year after the al-Qaeda leader was found living with his three wives on the doorstep of Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point, the country is still accused of sheltering a string of the Washington’s most-wanted terrorism suspects.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor, is suspected to be in Pakistan, as is Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the de facto leader of the Haqqani network blamed for last month’s assault on Western targets in Kabul, the largest co-ordinated attack by armed groups in 10 years of war, is based in the tribal belt on the Afghan border, as is Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Last month, Washington offered $10m for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistani accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, who lives openly in Pakistan.
No claims for any rewards, yet, BTW.
Osama bin Laden’s last home is being sold off brick-by-brick after his secret Pakistani hideaway was demolished.
Two baths and a homemade TV aerial have also been put on sale by the enterprising contractor who bulldozed the three-storey home in February.
While Pakistan’s political and military leaders are keen to obliterate any memory of how the world’s most wanted man evaded capture for so long, Shakeel Ahmed said his salvage yard in Abbottabad had become a tourist attraction for visitors looking for a souvenir.
“These bricks can be used by people to build new houses,” he said, pointing to a heap of some of the 180,000 bricks he collected from the site. “Some come here looking for just one as so they can have them as a gift…”
In recent months the country has tried to obliterate his memory. Bin Laden’s three widows, along with their children and grandchildren were flown to Saudi Arabia last week and the house itself is now nothing but a pile of bricks in Mr Ahmed’s yard.
As one of the best-known contractors in the town, he was hired to flatten the compound.
The rubble was put up for auction but with other builders too frightened to bid, he said, he scooped the lot for 500,000 rupees or about £3300.
Now the bricks are on sale for anyone who wants to negotiate a deal for 1000 or more – at little more than £20 a lot.
He also snapped up two olive trees, cooking oil and window blinds but fears that his role in disposing of bin Laden’s house could attract the attention of Islamist militants…
The flattened site has become turned into a makeshift cricket pitch for dozens of children who live nearby as the town tries to forget its recent notoriety.
Which all goes to reinforce the questions still asked about the political sense of maintaining Pakistan as our sham ally.
Pakistani police guarding the bin Laden compound
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
The doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA target Osama bin Laden will be charged with treason…
“A case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made” against Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the information ministry said, summarizing a commission’s investigation into the death of the al Qaeda leader.
Afridi is accused of helping the CIA use a vaccination campaign to try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in bin Laden’s compound.
The United States “has repeatedly asked” for the release of the Pakistani doctor, a U.S. official said Thursday. The official declined to comment further on the treason charges…
“This was one very small piece of a very large intelligence effort to determine that bin Laden was located at the compound,” a senior U.S. official told CNN over the summer.”People need to put this into some perspective,” the official added. “The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else. If the United States hadn’t shown this kind of creativity, people would be scratching their heads asking why it hadn’t used all the tools at its disposal to find bin Laden.”
Pakistan demonstrates once again what passes for priorities and standards in that nation.
While the Obama administration trots out the usual diplomatic smoke-and-mirrors to maintain some sort of relationship with a corrupt government the fact remains that they can be trusted as far as I can throw the Aiwan-e-Sadr uphill into a heavy wind left-handed.
Pakistan needs to to understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make their problems disappear, according to Hillary Clinton.
Her warning came as US officials said documents seized during the raid to kill Osama bin Laden suggested the al-Qaeda leader and his aides were considering striking a deal with Pakistan to guarantee them a safe haven.
In return, the terror group would have reined in terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil.
Mrs Clinton, the US secretary of state, became the first member of the Obama administration to visit Pakistan since the death of bin Laden…
After meeting President Asif Ali Zardari, Mrs Clinton also met General Ashfaq Kayani, head of the Pakistani military, and General Shuja Pasha, director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency. A US official described the meetings as “difficult”…
Mrs Clinton, looking stony-faced at a press conference afterward, said: “This was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point. Osama bin Laden is dead but al-Qaeda and his syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both.”
“America cannot and should not solve Pakistan’s problems. That’s up to Pakistan. But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear,” Mrs Clinton said.
“Anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear”? Why not?
Seems to work in the little minds of some members of the Kool Aid Party and other right-wing Republican religious sects. Why shouldn’t the same effect carry over into a theocratic nation led around by the nose by ultra-nationalist parties and dedicated, demented sectarian religious bozos? Did I mention Israel?
Al Qaeda confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden Friday in an Internet message that vowed revenge on the United States and its allies, including Pakistan…
Five days after President Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s death in a U.S. raid in Pakistan, al Qaeda vowed not to deviate from the path of armed struggle and said bin Laden’s blood “is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain.”
“It (bin Laden’s blood) will remain, with permission from Allah the Almighty, a curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries,” the militant network said in a statement released on Islamist Internet forums and translated by SITE.
al Qaeda had to confirm or deny Bin Laden’s death. If they’re to have credibility among the fools who follow their jihad, they must identify a new fearless leader. If they are to call for revenge, they must admit to the reason for that rabid outcry.
In related news, Andrew Napolitano and Michael Scheuer have said “the government might not be ‘telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama’s…presidency'” and Washington Times editor Emily Miller tweeted “no photo of the body. That’s what we need for proof.”
The looneybirds of the world have a champion in American politics and unfortunately, they generate a great deal of the ideology of the Republican Party.
It’s every author’s dream – to write a book that’s so sensationally popular it’s impossible to find a copy in the shops, even as it keeps climbing up the bestseller lists.
And so it is for Anthony Shaffer, thanks to the Pentagon’s desire to buy up all 10,000 copies of the first printing of his new book, Operation Dark Heart. And then pulp them.
The US defence department is scrambling to dispose of what threatens to be a highly embarrassing expose by the former intelligence officer of secret operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and of how the US military top brass missed the opportunity to win the war against the Taliban.
The department of defence is in talks with St Martin’s Press to purchase the entire first print run on the grounds of national security.
The publisher is content to sell the books but the two sides are in a grinding dispute over what should appear in a censored version and when it should be released.
Now St Martin’s Press says it will put the partly redacted manuscript on sale next week whether or not the defence department likes it – and there doesn’t appear much the authorities can do.
The army had cleared the book by Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, about “black ops” in the Afghan war when he was based at Bagram in 2003, for publication after relatively minor changes.
The Pentagon is blocking Shaffer from giving interviews by saying it would violate his status as a reserve officer.
Meanwhile, I just checked Amazon and they’re still taking orders for 24 September shipment of the hardcopy. No Kindle edition.
And, anyway, how would you buy out the whole Kindle edition?
British Airways is embroiled in fresh controversy after an in-house magazine promoted an iPhone boarding pass service showing a ticket belonging to Osama Bin Laden.
The sample ticket included Bin Laden’s frequent flyer number, suggesting he is a regular passenger with the airline.
LHR News – a staff magazine covering Heathrow Airport – carried the image on its front page…
Worse still, Bin Laden’s seat number – 7C – suggests he is in for a comfortable ride in a first class seat…
Sure, we all know how this probably happened. Someone filled in the blanks and forgot to change it before they got to publication.
You’d be surprised to learn how many bank accounts are opened for John Q. Public.