Late last month in “Russia’s Mid-East Takeover Continues As Afghanistan Requests Military Assistance From Moscow,” we noted, with some amusement, that Kabul was set to request a weapons delivery from Russia to aid in the fight against the Taliban. “Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron—Russia—just as the Kremlin is seeking to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage,” WSJ reported, on the way to detailing a request from President Ashraf Ghani who “asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s struggling military.”
The request came just a little over a week after President Obama canceled plans to bring the majority of American troops still stationed in Afghanistan home. Under Obama’s previous plan, Washington would withdraw most of the 9,800 troops operating in the country by the end of next year, leaving a force of just 1,000. Now, all 9,800 troops will remain for “most” of next year and 5,500 troops will remain in 2017. The official reason for the about face is that a resurgent Taliban now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any other time since 2001.
As a reminder, the Taliban took Kabul in 1996 and ruled until the regime was toppled by the US in the wake of 9/11.Continue reading »
In Charge of Saving Taxpayers’ Money in Afghanistan … Wait Till You Hear His Horror Stories
An ineffective $8 billion counternarcotics effort, $500 million worth of cargo planes that had to be turned into scrap metal and a $30 million program to grow crops that nobody wants — those are just some of the examples of how US funds have been wasted in Afghanistan.
While taxpayers have every right to be upset about how their money has been squandered, they might feel even more strongly about the lack of consequences for those who spend it so unwisely. Continue reading »
Earlier today, we learned that the U.S. government had raided a citizens victim fund to the tune of $1.5 billion in order to use the money for general expenses. It’s all starting to make sense now. When you’re spending $43 million on gas stations that should cost $500K, it doesn’t take long to run out of money.
The U.S. Department of Defense spent nearly $43 million on a gas station in northern Afghanistan and has been unable to explain why it cost so much, a U.S. special inspector reported on Monday.Continue reading »
KABUL, Afghanistan — A deadly earthquake hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday afternoon, registering a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 and causing heavy damage in one of the world’s most impoverished and war-torn regions.
At least 122 people were reported killed, with 100 or more of them in Pakistan, and that figure seemed likely to rise significantly, officials in both countries said. Continue reading »
Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama has reneged on his promise to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. By no means is this the first promise he has broken and it must be feared it will not be the last, given the man’s track record.
The reason why US troops are remaining in Afghanistan is a simple one: the US has not spent billions of dollars on the conquest and colonization of the country to just close shop over there and say goodbye. In the first place, Afghanistan has a unique strategic position in Central Asia that, according to prevalent geopolitical thought in Washington, just needs to be occupied. Continue reading »
The Americans, who were, just three months ago, dismissing the arrival of Isis in Afghanistan as nothing more than an internal squabble within Taliban, now belatedly acknowledge they are facing a growing threat with very limited means of response after the withdrawal of the bulk of international forces at the end of last year. Continue reading »
In particular, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) quickly publicized numerous facts that cast serious doubt on the original U.S. claim that the strike on the hospital was just an accident. To begin with, the organization had repeatedly advised the U.S. military of the exact GPS coordinates of the hospital. They did so most recently on September 29, just five days before the strike. Beyond that, MSF personnel at the facility “frantically” called U.S. military officials during the strike to advise them that the hospital was being hit and to plead with them to stop, but the strikes continued in a “sustained” manner for 30 more minutes.
By now, all of you will have read about the U.S. military’s recent bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. What you may not be aware of, is how much the official story has changed in the days since this inexcusable act of barbarism became public.
Doctors Without Borders has been calling the attack a “war crime,” which to the average American sounds outlandish and impossible. The justification for this claim is simple — that the airstrike wasn’t an accident at all, and that the U.S. military intentionally targeted the hospital. As the days go by, it becomes increasingly clear that this is indeed the case, and the Pentagon is now scrambling to justify the intentional targeting of a hospital. Continue reading »
Had the President of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders not warned us of the “imminent threat to global health” posed by the TPP, would these 22 doctors and patients have lost their lives early Saturday?
“I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened. What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning,” describednurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs of the U.S. bombardment of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
Harsh criticism and skepticism surround what is being labeled an errant U.S. bombardment of a hospital in Kunduz that left 22 people dead — many of them volunteers with Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, the humanitarian aid agency) — but doubt lingers about the vague official story for a reason.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s tragic and unprecedented bombing of an Afghanistan hospital by the US air force, one which killed 22 and continued for 30 minutes after mission command has been allegedly notified of the “error” which the US initially claimed was “collateral damage”, the Doctors without Borders physician group in charge of operating the hospital has come out swinging and has equated the US bombing of a hospital to engaging in nothing short of a war crime. Continue reading »
By way of excuse for what President Obama called “a tragic incident,” (and The UN called a ‘war crime’) US officials have claimed that the Taliban were fighting from within the Kabul hospital (which was destroyed by a US air strike yesterday killing at least 19 including 3 children) using aid workers as “a human shield.” However, this justification for the ‘collateral damage’ has been vehemently denied by Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF) who have issued a statement dismissing the US claims, “the gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened…” but, the US strike has done one thing, as one local health official concluded, “this city is no longer for the living.”Continue reading »
Update: and now the UN is getting involved, which means the US will have to spend even more taxpayer funds on bribes to make the “international community” forget this collateral damage incident and refocus on evil Russia.
#BREAKING: Kunduz air strikes ‘inexcusable’, ‘possibly criminal’: UN rights chief
Up to 20 civilians were killed by U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan early Saturday morning that hit a hospital in Kunduz. According to reports, another 37 people have been injured and many more remain unaccounted for. The hospital is operated by a French affiliate of Doctors Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières (MFS), and was the only functioning health facility in the area.
According to The Guardian, “The hospital was hit during an aerial bombardment on Saturday morning in the besieged city of Kunduz, destroying a large portion of the facility. An MSF source told the Guardian that up to 20 Afghan members of staff and patients were killed and dozens more injured. They said the death toll could rise further. Among the killed were nine MSF staff and seven patients from the intensive care unit, including three children.”Continue reading »
“The Kite Runner,” Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 novel, featured a pivotal and highly controversial scene in which one of the young male protagonists is raped by an older youth. That harrowing section of the best-selling book highlighted the rampant sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan. Now, a revelation—even more horrifying—has implicated real-life U.S. soldiers serving in that country. The New York Times on Sunday reported how troops have been instructed to condone the routine rape of Afghan children by our warlord allies. The story is a cringe-inducing example of how corrupt our war in Afghanistan has been.
So rampant is the phenomenon of child rape by Afghan military commanders that it has a name: bacha bazi, which translates into “boy-play.” In some cases, rapes have taken place on U.S. military bases under the noses of American soldiers. But U.S. troops were told to look the other way because Washington considers the rapists’ help in fighting the Taliban central to its military strategy. Consequently, according to the Times, “instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of village—and doing little when they began abusing children.” The hypocrisy of arming human rights violators against the purportedly violent Taliban did not escape the notice of some U.S. troops who attempted to speak out but encountered retaliation.
When confronted with the revelations, the top brass of the U.S. military justified its apparent policy of excusing child rape among allied commanders. Spokesman Col. Brian Tribus, who is stationed in Afghanistan, told the Times, “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law,” and that U.S. troops are not obligated to even report the crimes. “An exception, he said, is when rape is being used as a weapon of war.” Strangely, the rape of Afghan children by our warlord friends is not considered a weapon of war, even though the victims are the most vulnerable members of the Afghan public that the U.S. has claimed to protect in the longest war it has ever waged. Continue reading »
Despite billions spent to eradicate opium crops in Afghanistan, the crop is more popular than ever there, leading many to wonder whether some U.S. forces may actually be encouraging its growth and the heroin it later becomes.
UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The Islamic State group is making inroads in Afghanistan, winning over a growing number of sympathizers and recruiting followers in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces, a UN report said Friday.
The militant group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq, has been trying to establish itself in Afghanistan, challenging the Taliban on their own turf.
Afghan security forces told UN sanctions monitors that about 10 percent of the Taliban insurgency are IS sympathizers, according to the report by the UN’s Al-Qaeda monitoring team. Continue reading »
KABUL, Afghanistan — In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.
“All of these players, these politicians are nothing more than puppets, they don’t serve the people there is no real democracy, they serve the rich and powerful who run the world and that would be the bankers who control the money supply. The bankers make huge amounts of money….wars are great for them and ultimately they control the politicians.
Psychopaths are running the world.”
Ken O’ Keefe is a former US Marine turned anti-war campaigner who appeared on a Press TV debate called Syria: War of Deception, and absolutely owned his opponent in such an awesome way that you’ll be cheering at his every comment.
Recorded in August 2013, this interview is now two years old, but in light of the current Europeanrefugee crisis it’s more relevant today than ever before. Passionate, articulate and knowledgeable about the subject matter, O’Keefe is the perfect guy to step up and tell these home truths- and boy, does he do a good job.
This guy nails so many crucial points about the Syria situation in one interview, he’ll have you jumping around and punching the ceiling.
“We have tortured and killed and maimed and raped around this planet; who in their right mind would consider the United States or the West in general to be in any position to punish anybody?” the veteran begins angrily, going on to outline the evidence for Syria being a false flag attack (Note: leaked emails showing how Assad was framed by the USA are detailed in this cached Daily Mail report from January 2013, which was published online briefly before being removed).
He rightly points out that the USA dropped more bombs in Vietnam than during the whole of WW2 combined, that it regularly arms terrorists (but the mainstream press refer to them as ‘freedom fighters’ when it suits them) and the former marine also points out how the so-called ‘War on Terror’ is nothing more than a well-planned strategy to be in a “perpetual state of war to destabilize the region for the Greater Israel plan.”Continue reading »
Amid the dire situation in Afghanistan, the main US government organisation in charge of rebuilding the country has sent out a strong message to Washington. It says America has failed in multiple ways…
Scott Scottdale interviews Prof. John McMurtry for Canadian Challenger
John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his work is published and translated from Latin America to Japan. He is the author and editor of the three-volume Philosophy and World Problems published by UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), and his latest book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/from Crisis to Cure.
SS/CC: You have said that “the trick of the endless US-led wars in the Middle East is to control both sides so as to ensure against sovereign states able to defend the common interests of their peoples”. Please explain. Continue reading »
In this March 31, 2003 file photo, an Iraqi prisoner of war comforts his 4-year-old son at a regrouping center for POWs captured by the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division near An Najaf, Iraq. The man was seized in An Najaf with his son by the U.S. military.
Landmark research proves that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has killed as many as 2 million people, but this is a fraction of Western responsibility for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades
Last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors’ group is the first to tally up the total number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Continue reading »
A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.
The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen – and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.
“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says. Continue reading »
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (reut.rs/1L5knm0) Continue reading »
The ‘smallest Air Force in history’ is dealing with more missions than ever. So the flyboys are calling in the military contractors to operate their jets.
The U.S. Air Force fleet of planes and pilots is stretched so thin, the service is considering hiring private military corporations flying supersonic jets to train its fighter jocks in mock air combat.The Air Force is being forced to consider such desperate measures because it doesn’t have enough fighter jets and trained aircrew to fly missions where they would simulate enemy warplanes—also called “red air” in military slang. Continue reading »
The United States “occupation strategy” involves a cycle of invading a country of interest, turning it into a chaotic mess and then using the chaos as “a justification” for longer military presence in that country, says American political commentator and peace activist Brian Becker.
A day after US President Barack Obama declared the end of the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in America’s history, Republican Senator John McCain said the White House should abandon its strict schedule for the withdrawal of US troops from the country and replace it with a “plan based on conditions on the ground”. Continue reading »
Since June, the U.S. military has been slowly stockpiling massive amounts of its gear coming out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, in preparation for ultimately shipping it across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group, US News reports. Air Force Maj. Gen. Rowayne “Wayne” Schatz admitted, “from June to December, we’ve worked a lot on moving items into Kuwait,” including 3,100 vehicles, most of them MRAPs. While the military stands by President Barack Obama’s repeated pledge that he will not put U.S. combat forces on the ground, an increasing number of U.S. troops has slowly trickled back into Iraq, as the US and its allies are reportedly planning for a massive spring offensive to retake territory from ISIS.
Since June, the U.S. military has been slowly stockpiling massive amounts of its gear coming out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, in preparation for ultimately shipping it across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group. Continue reading »
As the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan comes to an end and allied troops depart, the Taliban has proclaimed itself the victor in the protracted war.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission will cease to exist on January 1. However thousands of NATO troops will stay in war-torn Afghanistan on a “training and support” mission.
For the Taliban, NATO’s pullout from Afghanistan is a clear demonstration of the alliance’s weakness. Continue reading »
The US defense secretary Chuck Hagel on a visit to the Afghan capital Kabul has said that up to 1,000 US troops will not be withdrawn from Afghanistan as planned.
The extra troops will cover a temporary shortfall in NATO forces as the vast majority of them leave Afghanistan for good at the end of 2014.
“President Obama has provided US military commanders the flexibility to manage any temporary force shortfall that we might experience for a few months as we allow for coalition troops to arrive in theatre,” Hagel told reporters. Continue reading »
“This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards – and the Ebola events leading into it – it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I’ve seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows… After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to “stimulate” our economy by directly buying stock index futures.”
American Epidemic? NYPD cop shoots dead unarmed man ‘without warning’:
The global financial system has come unglued. Everywhere the real world evidence points to cooling growth, faltering investment, slowing trade, vast excess industrial capacity, peak private debt, public fiscal exhaustion, currency wars, intensified politico-military conflict and an unprecedented disconnect between debt-saturated real economies and irrationally exuberant financial markets.
Yet overnight two central banks promised what amounts to more monetary heroin and, presto, the S&P 500 index jerked up to 2070. That is, the robo-traders inflated the PE multiple for S&P’s basket of US-based global companies to a nose bleed 20X their reported LTM earnings.
I’ve long written about how the percentage of sociopaths within a group of humans becomes increasingly concentrated the higher you climb within the positions of power in a society, with it being most chronic amongst those who crave political power (see: Humanity is Rising).
The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.
Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle.
Ah, national security. Remember that the next time you are lectured that we need to give up our civil liberties in the name of “national security.” Think about what that really means. It really means the security of the status quo to continue to behave like insane criminals with zero accountability.
It is unclear whether the person in charge of the Lois Lerner “disappeared IRS emails” strategy was also Dr. Gruber, but whoever conceived of the idiotic idea that the fatal failure of a local hard disk means that emails which are stored on at least one server miles away, and subsequently downloaded via POP3, IMAP or some other protocol, have vaporized, clearly also relied on the stupidity (and laziness) of the American people. And like in the case of Obamacare, the lies worked, if only for a short period of time. And because when it comes to lies coming from the very top, there is never just one cockroach, and they always inevitably scatter, the latest headache for a scandal-ridden president is that Lois Lerner’s email, supposedly gone in perpetuity, have mysteriously reappeared, and as the Washington Examiner reports, “up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.”
In the wake of the failure of the U.S. Senate to move forward on the USA Freedom Act, many activists and civil liberties advocates have come to the conclusion that we can’t rely on the feds to do anything decent on the subject. One of the proposed grassroots ways to fight back has been an emphasis on increased use of encryption (recall my pre-Snowden era post, Bitcoin and Kim Dotcom: Why it’s Time to “Encrypt Everything”). Another obvious solution is for people to revolt at the local level. It appears that the citizens of Utah are doing just that.
I am a United Sates Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry.
“The situation has become so bad… that a middle-aged investor, fearing that a local developer wouldn’t be able to make his promised interest payments, threatened to commit suicide in dramatic fashion last summer. After hearing similar stories of desperation, city officials reminded residents that it is illegal to jump off the tops of buildings.”
As The West shows its fortitude (and apparent philanthropy) with mere 32-degree Fahrenheit ice-bucket-challenges, Russian chemistry professor Yury Zhdanov goes 290-degrees better…
Nikolay Novosyolov, founder of a science popularization project, poured a bucket of liquid nitrogen, which temperature was minus 322 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 197 Celcuis), as part of the #IceBucketChallenge campaign, taking the world’s social media charity craze to a whole new level.
The ultimate goal of the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by some Western nations is to stir public protests and oust the government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“Western leaders publicly state that the sanctions must hurt [Russia’s] economy and stir up public protests. The West doesn’t want to change Russia’s policies. They want a regime change. Practically nobody denies that,” he told a leading think-tank in Moscow.
Lavrov said that the tensions between Russia and the West had been brewing for years before the Ukrainian crisis, adding that now the Europeans had decided to go for all-or-nothing and play chicken with Russia. But at least the positions have been made clear, Lavrov said.
German police used pepper spray and clashed with anti-EU protesters, who stormed and vandalized the new European Central Bank building, which is under construction now in central Frankfurt.
Calling themselves Blockupy, thousands of activists gathered in the city center on Saturday and marched to the goal of their protest, the new ECB office, which is to be inaugurated next March.
The cost of the new office is almost 1.3 billion euros and this fact has caused a lot of criticism while the policy of austerity is applied all over Europe.
“While our colleagues, friends and comrades in Southern Europe continue to rebel against the depletion and impoverishment policies of the Troika, the ECB moves into its new palace,” Blockupy website says. “Blockupy moves on to the road. We will make our own move to the new building and give back to the ECB the garbage – in and with many moving boxes – that should have been thrown into the dustbin of history: racist and sexist division, impoverishment, privatization of public funds and goods and wars to secure resources.”
The news this week of China’s largest corporate bankruptcy – Haixin Iron & Steel Group – amid crashing iron ore and steel prices was followed by analysts noting it “will be followed by others,” as the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be “over-bullish.” Distressed debt funds are starting to circle in preparation for what they expect to be a bloodbath as Bloomberg reports, bad debts in China are well underestimated because authorities persist in propping up weak companies and bailing out local investors, according to DAC Management, “we’ve yet to see it because if you look at corporate defaults, they keep getting covered by the government. At some point, they can’t cover every single one.” Most worryingly though, as KPMG points out, “when you see restructuring advisers getting hired by SOEs… you know it’s coming.”
Healthcare workers at Hope Assisted Living & Memory Care Center in Dacula, Georgia, whose identities have not been made known as of this writing, have informed Health Impact News that on November 7, 2014, five residents of the center received flu vaccinations, only to die one week later.
Once a market leader among Western 24-hour news channels, CNN has now become infamous for its slipshod mislabeling of maps across the world. This week the network hit a new low, transforming a synagogue into a mosque.
Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not. As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal. According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million. And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table. Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum. The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year. But most Americans live in a very different world. The percentage of Americans that are employed is about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession, the quality of our jobs continues to go down, the rate of homeownership in America has fallen for seven years in a row, and the cost of living is rising much faster than paychecks are. As a result, the middle class is smaller this Thanksgiving than it was last Thanksgiving, and most Americans have seen their standards of living go down over the past year.
In 2014, there are tens of millions of Americans that are anonymously leading lives of quiet desperation. They are desperately trying to hold on even though things just keep getting worse. For example, just consider the plight of 49-year-old Darrell Eberhardt. Once upon a time, his job in a Chevy factory paid him $18.50 an hour, but now he only makes $10.50 an hour and he knows that he probably would not be able to make as much in a new job if he decided to leave…
Nation #1 spends and issues tens of trillions in taxpayer funds and debt, crushing the growth potential of future generations, just to bail out a banking sector full to the brim with criminal “riggers” (as today’s settlements once again prove), where bubble mania was so pervasive not a single bank would have survived absent a global central bank bailout, and where bank executives wouldn’t bend over for anything less than a million.
Nation #2 just sentenced two senior officials of a bank that collapsed under (a measly by New Normal standards) $1 billion in debt to 15 years in prison each for embezzlement and fraud.
Nation #1 is, of course, the US (or any other western nation). Nation #2 is Afghanistan.
Despite Washington spending $7.6 billion on counter-narcotic initiatives in Afghanistan, 2013 witnessed a record surge in the amount of opium poppy cultivation, according to the US inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
The Central Asian country cultivated a record 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, beating the previous highest level of 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Battle-hardened Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the world’s opium. Continue reading »
The top ten recipients slated to receive US foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other major human rights organizations.
The violators and degree of aid they are expected to receive are: 1. Israel – $3.1bn, 2. Afghanistan – $2.2bn, 3. Egypt – $1.6bn, 4. Pakistan – $1.2bn, 5. Nigeria – $693m, 6. Jordan – $671m, 7. Iraq – $573m, 8. Kenya – $564m, 9. Tanzania – $553m, 10. Uganda -$456m
Each of the listed countries are accused of torturing people in the last year, and at least half are reported to be doing so on a massive scale. Continue reading »
Bilateral Security Agreement, signed Tuesday, will allow thousands of US troops to remain in the country for at least another decade
Locking in at least another decade of U.S. military entanglement, the United States and Afghanistan signed a controversial Bilateral Security Agreement at a ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday.
The provisions of the pact will allow for U.S. training, funding, and arming of the Afghan military and keep thousands of U.S. troops beyond what President Obama has repeatedly called the “end of the war” later his year. A key part of the agreement also extends immunity to U.S. service members under Afghan law. Continue reading »
American jets hit targets in Syria on Tuesday in the US-led fight against Islamic State. Although the US has not declared war since 1942, this is the seventh country that Barack Obama, the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, has bombed in as many years.
Syria has become the latest country to have been openly targeted by the US, with Washington predictably not seeking the approval of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The US and NATO started a bombing campaign in the north of the country on Tuesday against Islamic State militants, who have taken over parts of the north and east of the country. The death toll from Tuesday’s campaign was put at 120, though this figure could rise, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who also said that eight civilians had lost their lives. Continue reading »
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
Murray said part of the motive in hyping up the threat of Islamic terrorism in Uzbekistan through forced confessions was to ensure the country remained on-side in the war on terror, so that the pipeline could be built.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
You’ve got to hand it to the brain surgeons running America’s foreign policy. They possess an uncanny ability to seamlessly forge alliances, break alliances and turn former allies into existential enemies, while simultaneously demonizing regimes, making amends with demonized regimes, and then quickly forming alliances with the same bitter enemies.
Friends become enemies and enemies become friends in the blink of an eye. This is what happens when a global empire possesses no real foreign policy other than the pursuit of economic opportunities for mega corporations and the military-industrial complex. The result is perpetual war, countless dead and injured young men and women, and billions of riches for a small and ruthless cadre of oligarchs. This is American foreign policy and those are its results.
Of course, I’m not the only one to notice the repercussions of America’s for profit foreign policy. Former U.S. darling and outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai slammed American foreign policy in his farewell speech earlier today. Here are excerpts from New York Times’ coverage: Continue reading »
In an unusual turn of events, ISIS has released a ‘news’ video – absent gruesome beheadings and threats – that features ISIS captive UK report John Cantlie explaining, calmly, how “there are two sides to the story,” in Iraq and Syria and attempting to “dispel the manipulated truths” of the Western media… “think you’re getting the whole picture.. as history repeats itself yet again.”
According to Cantlie, this is the first in a series – “You may be surprised at what you learn.”