Ex-Pentagon Chief: Obama Lacked Faith In Afghan Strategy

So we have (or had?) a President with an abundance of ‘hope’, ‘change’ and ‘believe’, but lack of ‘faith’? LOL!

From the article:

Gates, however, gives credit to Obama for approving the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, describing it as “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House.”

So killing a dead man was “one of the most courageous decisions” Robert Gates “had ever witnessed in the White House”???

Related info:

SEAL Team 6 Was Set Up (Video)

For your disinformation & BS folder …


Ex-Pentagon Chief: Obama Lacked Faith In Afghan Strategy (Radio Free Europe, Jan 8, 2014):

In a new book, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says U.S. President Barack Obama lacked faith in his own war strategy in Afghanistan.

The book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War,” is to be published next week, but reviews of the memoirs and excerpts appeared in U.S. media on Tuesday.

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Begun The Drone Wars Have (Huffington Post)

Begun the Drone Wars Have (Huffington Post, Nov 27, 2012):

With drones from the beginning there has been a kind of technological determinism associated with the idea that since the United States possesses this relatively new technology it should use it. Facing the uncertainty of reelection, President Obama became so concerned about the lawlessness of his drone killings he sought hastily to codify the rules governing their use. What began in the Bush era as a means for targeting al Qaeda leaders hiding in remote areas has become a vast “amorphous” death machine targeting suspected “militants” in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Now we’ve learned that, in addition to “personality strikes” aimed at individuals deemed enemies of the United States, there are now what’s called “signature strikes” where any congregation of suspicious looking military-age men is open game.

The Obama administration apparently views drones as the cheapest and easiest way to kill “militants” while keeping American casualties low to non-existent. This seeming techno-supremacy has the added political benefit of getting around a war-weary electorate. But future presidents might not quibble about using drones as judiciously as our current president claims to be, hence his rush to clarify the rules of engagement.

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US Veterans Sue The Pentagon Over ‘Systemic Failure to Stop Rape And Sexual Assault.’

What can you expect from such a government?

US Government Child Porn Probe Leads To FBI Headquarters

5200 Pentagon Employees PURCHASED Child Porn (CNN)

Pentagon Declined To Investigate Hundreds Of Purchases Of Child Pornography

Several Dozen Pentagon Workers Used Their High-Level Security Clearances To Purchase And Download Child Pornography



Kori Cioca, 25, of Wilmington, Ohio, speaks about how she was raped while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, during an interview in her attorney office in Washington

Veterans say rape cases mishandled (AP):

WASHINGTON – A group of U.S. veterans who say they were raped and abused by their comrades want to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases.

More than a dozen female and two male current or former service members say servicemen get away with rape and other sexual abuse and victims are too often ordered to continue to serve alongside those they say attacked them.

In a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday that names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, they want an objective third party to handle such complaints because individual commanders have too much say in how allegations are handled.

The alleged attackers in the lawsuit include an Army criminal investigator and an Army National Guard commander. The abuse alleged ranges from obscene verbal abuse to gang rape.

17 Victims Sue Pentagon Over ‘Plague’ of Sexual Violence (AOL News):

WASHINGTON — It may become a landmark case to force the military to take rape and sexual assault seriously. Or it could be yet another failed attempt in a decades-long battle by women to be accepted in the armed forces.

Seventeen veterans and active-duty service members today took the first step to determining that, suing the Pentagon on charges of violating their constitutional rights to serve their country.

They accused two secretaries of defense of condoning, ignoring and implicitly encouraging sexual abuse in the ranks in a 42-page complaint filed in federal district court in Alexandria, Va., which contains phrases like “f—ing whore,” “bitch” and “troublemaker.”The plaintiffs, who include two men, come from every military branch. They charge they were victimized twice — once by their assailants and again by the institution they served.

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NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER SPY COVER-UP

“WIKI” STYLE ESPIONAGE LANDS $300 BILLION DOLLAR SUPER-PLANE PLANS


F-35 Joint Strike Fighter worthless?

Nov. 2 (Veterans Today) — “Another spy disaster like Pollard, shoved under the rug too long due to pressure from the powerful Israeli lobby.”

On April 21, 2009, the Department of Defense announced the theft of 1.5 terabytes of data on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the platform meant give the United States and her allies air superiority for the next 40 years.  In a flash, all that was gone, $300 billion dollars of funding down the drain, every system, defense, offense, stealth, everything needed to build one or shoot it down, all gone.  Day one, China was accused but it wasn’t China, it wasn’t Iran, it wasn’t Pakistan.  The theft left a clear signature, one identical to the data Wikileaks has been receiving, sources inside the Pentagon repeating the actions of Israeli-Soviet spy, Jonathan Pollard.  As vital as the F-35 is to America’s defense, Pollard’s triumph on behalf of Soviet Russia and Israel dwarfs the current espionage coup.

Since the 2009 announcement, there has been nothing but silence.

When the theft was announced, Pentagon “damage control” went into action immediately branding the disaster as “unimportant” while scrambling to look for any possible way to “put the toothpaste back into the tube.”  What Secretary Gates came up with was a simple denial and to pretend it never happened.  With the continual efforts by the Israeli government to secure the release of master spy Jonathan Pollard, a “witch hunt” for another Israeli spy would endanger America’s hopes of winning a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

There was no real question, this was another Israeli operation, their “signature” was all over it.

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”

What did America lose?  15 years of research and development?  That doesn’t come close.  Key components of the F-35, from stealth materials, flight and weapons systems, to tens of thousands of man-hours of systems programming are now “out there,” available to any potential rival, military or commercial.  At best, it could be considered a $300 billion dollar bank robbery, by American standards, nothing new in today’s financial world.


Additional Risk for U.S. Navy Carriers  –
Another spy disaster like Pollard, shoved under the rug too long due to pressure from the powerful Israeli lobby.

At worst, nations whose defense capabilities were decades behind the US can now be at par, as the F-35 was estimated to be “air superiority capable” until at least 2040. Data stolen could make production of a comparable aircraft possible in as little as 36 months, particularly with several projects in the offing, Russia/India and in China, each of which are capable of quickly adapting upgraded systems.

The JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) in its three variants, conventional takeoff/landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOLV), are scheduled for production through 2026 with estimates of service life until 2060 and beyond.  Export versions of the F-35, “detuned” are available for American allies, NATO and Israel.  The F-35 delivers more “punch” per dollar than any current “legacy” fighter by a margin of as much as 8 to 1.  The economics of “stealing” the F-35 and auctioning it off, system at a time, is tremendous.

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General James Mattis who said it was ‘fun to shoot people’ takes over US Central Command

General Stanley A. McChrystal:

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”

Source: New York Times


A senior US general once criticised for saying it was “fun to shoot some people” has been picked to take over US Central Command, leading the military command running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

general-james-mattis
Lieutenant General James Mattis of the US Marines Corps has been picked to take over US Central Command (AFP)

General James Mattis, the current head of the US Joint Forces Command and who previously led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, had widely been tipped as the next head of Central Command. President Barack Obama must formalise the nomination, which then goes to Congress for approval.

Centcom, as it is known, oversees operations in a volatile swathe of the world that covers 20 countries and stretches from Egypt across the Middle East and into south and central Asia.

Robert Gates, the defence secretary, praised the four-star general as “one of the military’s most innovative and iconoclastic thinkers.”

Mr Gates also dismissed concerns about his 2005 comments, saying Mattis had learned his lesson.

Gen Mattis was reprimanded at the time by the Marine Corps for telling a conference in San Diego, California: “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling.”

During a discussion panel he said: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil.

“You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

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US won’t share Ft Hood evidence with Senate: Gates

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks behind the boots, helmets and rifles of the fallen soldiers during the III Corps and Fort Hood Memorial Ceremony November 10, 2009 held to honor the victims of the shootings on the Fort Hood Army post in Fort Hood, Texas. (REUTERS)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Reuters) – The Obama administration, facing a subpoena threat from Congress, will not share information that could compromise its prosecution of the suspected gunman in last year’s Fort Hood shooting, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday.

Two U.S. senators vowed on Thursday to subpoena the Obama administration next week unless it produces information sought in a congressional investigation of last year’s rampage at the Texas military base in which 13 soldiers were killed.

They said the Justice and Defense departments had until Monday to provide the information or face legal action.

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WikiLeaks Plans to Post Video Showing US Massacre of Afghani Civilians

In case you want to know what the US government response was to this video:

WikiLeaks Release: Classified US Military Video Depicts The Indiscriminate Slaying of Over a Dozen People in Iraq – Incl. Two Reuters News Staff

Here is what Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to say:

Gates: WikiLeaks Video ‘Painful To See’ But Won’t Have ‘Lasting’ Impact (Huffington Post):

“And, you know, we’ve investigated it very thoroughly. And it’s unfortunate,” he added. “It’s clearly not helpful. But by the same token, I think it should not have any lasting consequences.”


wikileaks_001

The whisteblower website WikiLeaks — which exploded onto the national stage earlier this month after it released a video recording showing US servicemembers shooting two reporters and six others to death — says they plan to release another, even more harrowing clip.

The clip will show previously classified footage from US warplanes that had been tapped to bomb Taliban positions in Farah province, Afghanistan last year.

Adds the UK Telegraph: “The Afghan government said at the time that the strikes by F-18 and B1 planes near Granai killed 147 civilians. An independent Afghan inquiry later put the toll at 86.”

“Video footage of the strike could prove highly damaging to the Nato-led coalition if it showed pilots failing to safeguard civilian lives,” the paper continues.

The earlier video showing two Reuters cameramen being shot appears at the bottom of this report. Viewer discretion is advised, as the clip is graphic.

As recently as today, Afghanis protested the deaths of four other civilians who were killed when US forces fired on a bus on Monday.

About 200 men took to the streets of Kandahar to demonstrate over the killings on a highway outside the southern Afghan city, burning tires and shouting “death to America, death to Karzai, death to this government”.

Hours later, three Taliban militants wearing suicide vests and carrying guns tried to storm the office of Afghanistan’s premier spy agency in Kandahar, sparking a shoot-out with security forces.

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John Pilger: Have a Nice World War III, Folks

US shipping hundreds of powerful bunker buster bombs for coming attack on Iran


us-army
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: The U.S. Army, Reto Stöckli / NASA)

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and, now, the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception.” Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if “The Hurt Locker” were real, and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

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The New Vision of the Obama Administration: War Without End

The US is totally broke and the only asset left is the military.

Change you can believe in!


pentagon-robert-gates

Suicide bombers inside the United States. Nuclear-armed nations collapsing and losing control of nuclear weapons. Bloody new conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. American troops under attack at bases around the world. Terrorist attacks using unknown new diseases. Chinese missile attacks on Taiwan.

The Obama administration has unveiled a scary new view of the global security landscape and a new strategy intended to protect Americans and U.S. allies. It is a sharp change from previous Pentagon strategic assessments in that it focuses on the wars Americans are currently fighting, rather than on future conflicts in which the United States might be involved.

And that future, in the Pentagon’s view, is quite grim.

The new assessment — reflecting “a bracing dose of realism,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates — promises no respite from today’s conflict-wracked world, and no backing away from the billions of dollars for new hardware and new capabilities that the administration says it will take to stay safe. On Gates’ short list: new long-range attack aircraft, armed air and ground robots, attack submarines, more special forces commandos, two new Army combat brigades, a new military task force to snatch up loose nuclear weapons, and updated battle concepts for coordinated air and sea attacks into the territory of adversaries equipped with high-tech defenses

This is the heart of two new documents released Monday by Gates, the former CIA director who was chosen to head the Pentagon by President George W. Bush in late 2006 and held in office by President Obama. One paper is the awkwardly named Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR in Pentagon-speak, a study mandated every four years by Congress to assess security threats and defense capabilities. The other, also released Monday was the Pentagon’s 2011 defense budget proposal ($708.2 billion, a 1.8 percent real increase over current spending) and a request for $3 billion to help pay for combat operations in Afghanistan this year.

Neither should be a surprise. As a presidential candidate 18 months ago, Obama accepted an anti-war mantle because of his announced determination to end to the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. But Candidate Obama also spoke of Afghanistan as a righteous war that must be won. As president, Obama, having grappled for months with the nasty reality of war in Afghanistan, acknowledged in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in December that in a brutal world, armed force is essential.

“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes,” Obama said. “There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”

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US sending up to 10,000 troops to earthquake-hit Haiti

Related information:

Haiti: Gangs Armed With Machetes Loot Port-Au-Prince (CBS NEWS)

Haiti Earthquake: Law And Order Breaks Down; Who’s Running Haiti? No One, Say The People (Telegraph/Reuters)

4000 prisoners loose as Haiti earthquake quake topples jail (The Australian)



Makeshift camps are sprouting up in Port-au-Prince

Up to 10,000 US troops will be on the ground or off the coast of Haiti by Monday to help deal with the earthquake aid effort, US defence officials say.

Aid distribution has begun but logistics continue to be extremely difficult, UN officials say.

Tuesday’s earthquake has left as many as 45,000-50,000 people dead.

Correspondents say survivors seem increasingly desperate and angry as bottlenecks and infrastructure damage delay relief efforts.

AT THE SCENE Matt Frei

Matt Frei, Port-au-Prince

No-one is in charge. The president is sleeping at the airport with quite a few journalists and aid workers.

Earlier this morning, I stood on top of the rubble of the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Senate – where a few senators had been killed when the quake hit. Their bodies have been dragged out and put in body bags. The representatives of state are literally lying on the pavement slowly rotting away.

This is a citizenry left to its own extremely meagre resources. You’ve got ordinary people trying to administer IV drips to their family members who are slowly dying, but not a single doctor or nurse at the general hospital.

Many are spending another day without food and shelter in the ruined capital.

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes told reporters that 30% of buildings throughout Port-au-Prince had been damaged, with the figure at 50% in some areas.

The US has already sent an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to Haiti and the USS Bataan, carrying a marine expeditionary unit, is on its way.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm Mike Mullen, said a hospital ship and more helicopters would be sent in the coming days, carrying more troops and marines.

He said the total number of US troops would rise to between 9,000 and 10,000.

“Right now, I mean, literally as we speak, the Vinson (aircraft carrier) and the company from the 82nd Airborne who got there last night are focusing on delivering water from the helicopters offshore to the people of Haiti.”

They want us to provide them with help, which is, of course, what we want to do
David Wimhurst
UN spokesman

US defence secretary Robert Gates said the relief effort was the “highest priority for US military assets in this hemisphere”, and all necessary resources would be made available.

He described infrastructure problems which have led to delays in aid distribution as “facts of life”.

“I don’t know how … [the US] government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has,” he said.

The announcements came after US President Barack Obama pledged full American support in a phone call to his Haitian counterpart Rene Preval.

Relief problems

The UN said a total of about $310m (£190m) in international aid had been pledged so far for the relief effort.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Food and water are in critically short supply”

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Afghanistan: New 67-Million-Dollar US Prison At Bagram

“All detainees in Afghanistan are entitled to minimum protections, including the right to legal counsel, and to be able to challenge the legal and factual basis for the detention before an independent and impartial tribunal,” three leading rights groups said in a statement.

“The U.S. reforms still fall short of providing detainees with those rights,”
Amnesty International, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch said in the statement.

Source: Reuters

Change you can believe in!


detention-facility-bagram-afghanistan
A U.S. Public Affairs officer stood in the recreation yard in the newly constructed “Detention Facility in Parwan” during a media tour in Bagram, Afghanistan, Nov. 15, 2009. (Wall Street Journal)

BAGRAM AIR FIELD — The new US prison for captured insurgents lies in the middle of a former Soviet minefield, on the northeastern side of the main American military base in Afghanistan.

Cleared of a deadly menace which still lurks elsewhere along Bagram’s perimeter, the complex of cinderblock, containers, Quonset huts and high barbed-wire fences will hold 675 inmates by the year end.

This number can be increased to 1,140 inmates.

The 67-million-dollar facility will be run by around 700 military personnel working for the Joint Task Force 435, created by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates “to take responsibility for all US detainee operations in Afghanistan”.

new-detention-facility-bagram-afghanistan1
U.S. helicopter took off from the Bagram Air Base. (Wall Street Journal)

Officially known as Detention Facility in Parwan, after the surrounding province, the prison will replace that now run by only 200 guards in the centre of Bagram, a rapidly growing garrison city of 24,000.

Most inmates will be held in communal cells with a capacity of 20 detainees with, on average, 40 square feet (3.7 square metres) of individual space. On arrival, each will be issued a green blanket, a prayer mat, a white prayer cap and a copy of the Koran.

Detainees may, however, be segregated into individual cells for disciplinary reasons, but for never more than 30 days at a stretch.

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President Obama signs law blocking release of torture photos

torture-electrode

President Barack Obama received a great deal of media attention on Wednesday for signing a historic hate-crimes bill into law. But, on the same day, the US president also signed a Homeland Security spending bill that received far less attention, even though it effectively blocks efforts by activists to reveal photos of detainee abuse in US custody.

“We are disappointed that the president has signed a law giving the Defense Department the authority to hide evidence of its own misconduct, and we hope the defense secretary will not take advantage of that authority by suppressing photos related to the abuse of prisoners,” Jameel Jaffer, national security director for the ACLU, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the House and Senate inserted language into the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would shield photos of detainees in the US’s war on terror from the Freedom of Information Act. The language, which was added at the prodding of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), effectively blocks an ACLU lawsuit currently before the courts that would have forced the government to release the photos under Freedom of Information statutes.

As Daphne Eviatar noted at the Washington Independent, “President Obama initially agreed to release the photos, but changed his mind after consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others at the Pentagon, who warned the photos would endanger US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

At issue are 21 photos of detainees in US custody that the Department of Defense has been fighting tooth and nail from releasing. As Raw Story reported earlier this year, those photos may show acts of sexual abuse being carried out against detainees.

Major General Antonio Taguba, the author of a report on allegations of detainee abuse in U.S. prisons in Iraq, said that photos exist depicting the following:

–An American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner.
–A male translator apparently raping a male detainee.
–A female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Other photographs depict sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, according to Taguba.

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Philip Giraldi: Wag The Dog, Again

A must read article by former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi.

Philip Giraldi was the foreign policy advisor to Ron Paul during his last presidential run.

giraldi
Philip Giraldi


aipac_rules_america

Israeli media reports that visiting National Security Adviser General Jim Jones and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have told the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop complaining about Iran because the US is preparing to take action “in eight weeks” demonstrate that even when everything changes in Washington, nothing changes. President Barack Obama has claimed that a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a high priority but the Israelis and their allies in congress and the media have been able to stonewall the issue. Israel has made no concessions on its settlement policy, which is rightly seen as the single biggest obstacle to eventual creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead pushed ahead with new building and confiscations of Arab homes. Obama has protested both Israeli actions but done nothing else, meaning that Israel has determined that the new US president’s policies are toothless, giving it a free hand to deal with the Arabs. Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that Israel is free to attack Iran if it sees fit was a warning that worse might be coming. If the Israeli reports are true, it would appear that the Obama Administration has now bought completely into the Israeli view of Iran and is indicating to Tel Aviv that it will fall into line to bring the Mullahs to their knees. In short, Israel gets what it wants and Washington yet again surrenders.

President Obama’s ultimatum that Iran must start talks and quickly “or else” may be based on the belief that pressuring the government in Tehran will produce a positive result. If that is the judgment, it is wrong. Sanctions did not force Italy to change its policies in 1935, nor those of Japan five years later. Saddam Hussein survived them in the 1990s, and they have most certainly not brought the Cuban government down after fifty years of trying. The Iranian government will only respond by closing ranks against foreign pressure. Quite possibly, the only result an enhanced sanctions regime backed by a military threat will produce is a war, which would be catastrophic both for the United States and for Iran. Nor would it be particularly good for Israel in spite of what the current crackpot regime in Tel Aviv might think.

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US military planning for possible swine flu outbreak

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus — the swine flu — this fall, according to Defense Department officials.

The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from the U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

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British troops at mercy of Taliban surge; Nato fatalities rise by 78 per cent

Related article: Afghanistan: Northern Supply Lines Under Attack


Average of 12 attacks a day by insurgents in Helmand, new figures show

soldiers
Troops of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland and soldiers from the Afghan National Army in the Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand province

British troops fighting the Taliban are facing three times as many attacks as any other Nato force in Afghanistan amid spiralling violence across the country which has seen insurgent bombings and shootings rise by 73 per cent.

Official Nato figures reveal that fatalities among the international force, including British, have risen by 78 per cent while the targeting of officials serving the beleaguered Afghan government has increased by 64 per cent.

The details of the ferocity of the conflict emerged as Nato ministers meeting in the Netherlands acknowledged that the tide must be turned in the conflict. The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates stressed the urgent need to “shift the momentum”, saying “the patience of the American people and Congress would wear pretty thin… if in a year or so it appears we are in a stalemate and we’re taking even more casualties”.

General David Petraeus, the US commander in charge of Afghan operations, pointed out that violence reached an all-time high last week. He bluntly said that there was no question that security had deteriorated over the past two years and that “there are still tough times ahead” as the country prepares for national elections in August.

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Gates: U.S. will not accept nuclear North Korea

south-korea-navy
South Korean sailors take part in exercises Friday in disputed waters off the Korean Peninsula.

(CNN) — The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday at an international conference.

“We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region — or on us,” said Gates, speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.

“Our goal is complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state,” he said.

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President Obama Reverses Course on Releasing More Detainee Abuse Photographs

change

More change!


President Obama defended his decision to fight the release of photos showing detainee abuse Wednesday afternoon, saying it would only put American troops in harms way and create a backlash against Americans.

“The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” the president said before departing on his trip to Arizona. “Moreover, I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse.”

The move is a complete 180. In a letter from the Justice Department to a federal judge on April 23, the Obama administration announced that the Pentagon would turn over 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration.

But in a letter sent this afternoon to the District Court Judge in the case, Alvin Hellerstein of the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, acting US Attorney Lev Dassin, writes that while his previous April 23 letter informed the court that the Obama administration had decided not to seek certiorari of the Second Circuit Court’s ruling to force the release of the photographs, his office had “been informed today that, upon further reflection at the highest levels of Government, the Government has decided to pursue further options regarding that decision, including but not limited to the option of seeking certiorari.”

The deadline for that decision is June 9.

The photographs are part of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU for all information relating to the treatment of detainees — the same battle that led to President Obama’s decision to release memos from the Bush Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel providing legal justifications for brutal interrogation methods, many of which the International Committee of the Red Cross calls torture.

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Afghans riot over air-strike atrocity

Witnesses say deaths of 147 people in three villages came after a sustained bombardment by American aircraft.


A girl injured in the Farah air strike

Shouting “Death to America” and “Death to the Government”, thousands of Afghan villagers hurled stones at police yesterday as they vented their fury at American air strikes that local officials claim killed 147 civilians.

The riot started when people from three villages struck by US bombers in the early hours of Tuesday, brought 15 newly-discovered bodies in a truck to the house of the provincial governor. As the crowd pressed forward in Farah, police opened fire, wounding four protesters. Traders in the rest of Farah city, the capital of the province of the same name where the bombing took place, closed their shops, vowing they would not reopen them until there is an investigation.

A local official Abdul Basir Khan said yesterday that he had collected the names of 147 people who had died, making it the worst such incident since the US intervened in Afghanistan started in 2001. A phone call from the governor of Farah province, Rohul Amin, in which he said that 130 people had died, was played over the loudspeaker in the Afghan parliament in Kabul, sparking demands for more control over US operations.

The protest in Farah City is the latest sign of a strong Afghan reaction against US air attacks in which explosions inflict massive damage on mud-brick houses that provide little protection against bomb blasts. A claim by American officials, which was repeated by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates yesterday in Kabul, that the Taliban might have killed people with grenades because they did not pay an opium tax is not supported by any eyewitnesses and is disproved by pictures of deep bomb craters, one of which is filled with water. Mr Gates expressed regret for the incident but did not go so far as to accept blame.

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Despite Obama’s Vow, Combat Brigades Will Stay in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Mar 25 (IPS) – Despite President Barack Obama’s statement at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina Feb. 27 that he had “chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months,” a number of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), which have been the basic U.S. Army combat unit in Iraq for six years, will remain in Iraq after that date under a new non-combat label.

A spokesman for Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates, Lt. Col. Patrick S. Ryder, told IPS Tuesday that “several advisory and assistance brigades” would be part of a U.S. command in Iraq that will be “re-designated” as a “transition force headquarters” after August 2010.

But the “advisory and assistance brigades” to remain in Iraq after that date will in fact be the same as BCTs, except for the addition of a few dozen officers who would carry out the advice and assistance missions, according to military officials involved in the planning process.

Gates has hinted that the withdrawal of combat brigades will be accomplished through an administrative sleight of hand rather than by actually withdrawing all the combat brigade teams. Appearing on Meet the Press Mar. 1, Gates said the “transition force” would have “a very different kind of mission”, and that the units remaining in Iraq “will be characterised differently”.

“They will be called advisory and assistance brigades,” said Gates. “They won’t be called combat brigades.”

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