October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.
"I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning."
Yes, you already knew our government was extremely supportive in propping up the corrupt Egyptian regime, mostly as a means of keeping their torture routes protected and the oil and military markets flowing profitably... And, no doubt, we will send more tear gas if they need it because there is a lot of money to be made in never ending wars:
The United States has given billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt over the decades. The State Department approved the sale of tear gas to its police, despite its known history of brutality.
But the entire Arab world is starting to look like another neoconservative disaster as the lies and collusion between the USA, the UK, Israel and the supposed enemies of freedom - like the contorted and distorted "enemies" in Palestine, for example - come to light. It is another neoconservative contrived clusterfrack of foreign policy failure. But much like the Shock Doctrine delivered banking disaster is, the organized chaos the elite powers that be have preyed upon should be exposed for the Disaster Capitalism that has resulted. Make the jump»
Apparently a military budget was passed. Continuing trends... It is the largest military "Defense" budget ever. From Federal News Radio:
Congress has authorized the Pentagon to spend nearly $160 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no major restrictions on the conduct of operations. This year's approved legislation includes $725 billion in defense programs, including $158.7 billion for overseas combat. Among its numerous provisions is a 1.4 percent pay raise for troops and a guarantee that children of service members can stay covered under the military's TRICARE health care program until they are 26 years of age.
I believe there was no debate on this, but it is only endless war, eh? Just in case you did not hear about this news from your local media, because there ain't much in the Google search on it, YET, below the fold is some video from another untypical source because it ain't in the papers of record or other Traditional Media sources under any obvious headline like, say: "2011 Defense Budget Passed". Make the jump»
With billions having been tossed into Iraq without any accountability at all, is it surprising in any way that the GOP's complete financial incompetence has left the nation in tatters?
Yesterday, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its findings on how the money was spent from a special Iraq reconstruction fund set up by the Department of Defense (DOD) between 2003-2007. The account used Iraqi oil money to fund the reconstruction of Iraq. SIGIR concluded that 96 percent of the $9.1 billion the reconstruction program cannot be accounted for by the DOD:
A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money. Out of just over $9bn (£5.8bn), $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says. [...]
The funds in question were administered by the US Department of Defence between 2004 and 2007, and were earmarked for reconstruction projects. But, the report says, a lack of proper accounting makes it impossible to say exactly what happened to most of the money.
Given the last week's Shirley Sherrod news cycle of pre fact checking trashing to a post fact checked resurrection, I find a little bit of humor in asking some in the traditional media to take an advance look at the most recent Wikileaks documents to help verify the fact that they were real. Ya know.... A little bit of fact checking before anybody runs with it.
Anyways, with the resources they have they can and did serve a purpose here as the Times, the Guardian and others confirmed the likelihood that the docs are the real McCoy, and even using the advance notice to take a moment to dig a story or two out of the Wikileaks documents and spin what they can: Make the jump»
Shiite Iraqi militants have trained in Iran in preparation for attacks against U.S. military bases as American combat forces prepare to withdraw by September, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said on Tuesday.
In an unusually candid assessment, Gen. Ray Odierno said that Kataib Hezbollah - an Iraqi Shiite militant group backed by Iran - may be seeking to take some credit for the long-planned departure of U.S. troops.
"For years these groups have been (saying) that they are forcing the U.S. to leave," Odierno told reporters in Baghdad. A significant strike "could be a huge propaganda tool for them in the future."
I guess al Qaeda no longer scares people enough to want them to keep America in Iraq (or Afghanistan) since, now, we have the al Iran Hezbollah Qaeda super army being rolled out in one big bogeyman to try to get you to cower in support of forever war. As Laurence Lewis at dKos notes: Make the jump»
Steven D at the BooMan Tribune pointed out this interesting video on a campaign to raise awareness concerning the grave situation in the Congo:
Profiting from the worst war on the planet that no one in America knows anything about by purchasing "conflicts minerals" from the Congo for their products:
One of the things I have always loved about Blogging is the fact that not only can we start to look at things that are wrong, pick apart stories, facts and ideas... But we can work together on solutions for them when we see these problems for what they are.
Below the Open Thread fold is the same story unfolding with a different name to the region affected, IMHO, as Jon Stewart and the Daily Show crew give us the "Ore on Terror": Make the jump»
You can read all about what is clearly a case insubordination that can and should be punished to the full extent of the UCMJ.. Yep, McChrystal apologized but that does not excuse the behavior. And some are sending out statements of support. NATO probably does not want to risk instability... Even Afghanistan's President Karzai has voiced continued support for McChrystal.
Afghanistan's president believes that U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is the "best commander" of the nearly 9-year-old war and hopes that President Barack Obama doesn't decide to replace him, the Afghan leader's spokesman said Tuesday.
I love sites like Campaign for America's Future or Think Progress because they provide near infinite resources to the left leaning kind of people like myself that, in the past, were fighting so many of the big political arguments of the day without the benefit of any credible sources for research material. But they are not perfect.
Where else but Think Progress' The Progress Report are you going to find a page of material sent to you in your email inbox with pre-fact-checked material that is almost always timely and insighful. I.E. and from yesterday's (June 1st) The Progress Report: Make the jump»
He was an irreverent teenager with a pregnant girlfriend when the idea first crossed his mind: Join the Army, raise a family. She had an abortion, but the idea remained. Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, Saint Paddy to his friends, became Private Fitzgibbon. Three months out of basic training, he went to war.
From his outpost in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, he complained to his father about shortages of cigarettes, Skittles and Mountain Dew. But he took pride in his work and volunteered for patrols. On Aug. 1, 2009, while on one of those missions, Private Fitzgibbon stepped on a metal plate wired to a bomb buried in the sun-baked earth. The blue sky turned brown with dust.
The explosion instantly killed Private Fitzgibbon, 19, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls, a 27-year-old father from Colorado Springs. An hour later, a third soldier who was helping secure the area, Pfc. Richard K. Jones, 21, of Roxboro, N.C., died from another hidden bomb. The two blasts wounded at least 10 other soldiers.
5 soldiers were killed on Tuesday by a suicide bomber to push the this nightmarish number to over a thousand soldiers that have died in Afghanistan alone. According to iCasualties, the number of coalition forces that have died in Afghanistan is 1776 at the time that I am writing this.Make the jump»
From TPM, we get this little tidbit of news concerning Blackwater, a corporation so tarnished with corruption, gun running, muder, prostitution and rape of minors and other legal issues that they changed their name to Xe to try and dump the image they had built for themselves and other mercenary groups:
A lawsuit filed by two former employees of Blackwater charges that
the controversial security contractor defrauded the U.S. government,
including charging it for strippers and prostitutes, the New York Times reports.
Perhaps the most explosive charge in the lawsuit -- filed by a
married couple, Brad and Melan Davis, is that the company put a
Filipino prostitute in Afghanistan on its payroll under the "Morale
Welfare Recreation" category, then billed the government for her salary
and plane tickets.
I think TPM gets this story mostly right... But it seems that Blackwater/Xe may have actually been double billing for the prostitues' flights, as well as pretty much anyone else they could book on their privatized fraudulent err farce:Make the jump»
I've spent a good part of the last week re-reading Neil Sheehan's book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. Partly, this is just happenstance; I found a nicely annotated hardback copy in a local used book store. But it's also because I wanted to look again at the 1962-64 period of the Vietnam War to see how much it resembles our current situation in Afghanistan. I don't have good news to report.
Starting in earnest in 1962, the U.S. began arming the Viet Cong inadvertently through the strategic hamlet and strategic outpost programs. The communist side in the South was not relying on Chinese or Soviet supplies, except for heavy weapons that could not easily be captured. They got all the guns and ammo they needed simply by taking them from the people the U.S. handed them out to. The strategic hamlet program turned the peasants against the Saigon regime for good. Indiscriminate bombing of villages turned the rural populace into mortal foes of the United States. The cities were lost because the Catholic regime was brutal, corrupt, and attempted to crush the power of the Buddhist leadership.
The parallels to Afghanistan are not perfect, but the situations have enough commonality to give serious pause. The most worrisome feature is the corruption and illegitimacy of the Karzai Regime. If this was 1963, our ambassador would be plotting a coup to make sure Karzai and his opium-selling brother were assassinated and replaced by a (hopefully) more competent and popular successor. But, with hindsight, we know that that gambit didn't save South Vietnam and it probably wouldn't save Afghanistan either. Make the jump»
U.S. Afghan Envoy Urges Caution on Troop Increase
-- The United States ambassador to Afghanistan, who once served as the
top American military commander there, has expressed in writing his
reservations about deploying additional troops to the country, three
senior American officials said Wednesday.
"The position of the ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry, puts him in stark opposition to the current American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who has asked for 40,000 more troops. New York Times, Nov. 11
This isn't just any envoy. General Karl Eikenberry
has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, the second as head of the
Combined Forces Command. After the second Afghan tour, Eikenberry was
Chairman of the NATO
Joint Military Committee. He's a West Point graduate with advanced
degrees from Harvard and Stanford and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
General McChrystal has asked for 50,000 troops in early October. By October 28, the president was said to favor a "McChrystal light" number as low as 15,000. On Nov. 7, just four days before Eikenberry's statement, McClatchy Newspapers put Obama's preferred number at 30,000. At this moment, the president is reported have rejected all of the troop increases on the table, according to Associated Press at 12:02 am EDT, today, November 12.
How did we get from McChrystal's request for 50,000 troops
in early October to Eikenberry's "written reservations about deploying
additional troops" just days before President Obama's planned decision?
They also discuss issues between India and Pakistan. And this is why Rachel Maddow is among the best news sources on TV. She gets the right person, asks the right questions and gets you information you need to know.Make the jump»