This 13 October 2014 video is called Afghan official says NATO airstrike killed civilians.
After 13 years, President Obama, ‘time to end our endless war in Afghanistan’. As ‘longest war’ hits another milestone, human costs continue to rise: here.
This video is called “Arming dictators” – UK is selling weapons to Bahrain.
By Peter Boyle in Australia:
Weapons makers record super-profits
Saturday, September 27, 2014
It is a sadly familiar story: More death, pain and terror for the many translates into large profits for giant weapons making corporations.
“Led by Lockheed Martin, the biggest US defence companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world“, reported Richard Clough from Bloomberg News on September 25.
“Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the US hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. “President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.”
BMO Private Bank boasts on its website that it has been “helping affluent individuals and families preserve and protect wealth” for 100 years. And BMO’s investment officer was drooling over the profits his clients expect to make out of the latest US-led bombing spree in the Middle East.
Ablin told Bloomberg: “As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise … To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity.”
Remote “precision” airstrikes — such as the US and its allies — including Australia, are carrying out in Iraq and Syria today, have a record of inflicting huge civilian casualties as so-called “collateral damage”.
Marc Herold, a professor of economic development at the University of New Hampshire, did a comparative study of civilian victims of the West’s war on Afghanistan. He said: “From 2006 to mid-2008, US/NATO aerial attacks killed 1,488 Afghan civilians with 1,458 tonnes of bombs, whereas between October 7 and December 10, 2001 US war planes dropped 14,000 tonnes of bombs resulting in 2,569-2,949 dead Afghan civilians (or 18-21 civilians killed per 100 tonnes of US bombs),” the Guardian reported in 2008.
The relative lethality for Afghan civilians (measured by the ratio of civilians killed per 100 tonnes of bombs) of NATO’s close air support strikes far exceeds the lethality of the US strategic bombing of Laos and Cambodia, Herold calculated. And the lethality of US airstrikes in Afghanistan between 2006-2008 exceeded by far that recorded in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001.
For all its deathly toll, has US/NATO bombing in Afghanistan put an end to “terrorism” in that war-devastated country? No.
But that does not concern those who protect the wealth of the super-rich. War is good for profits. …
The Bloomberg’s share index for the four largest Pentagon contractors rose 19% this year, outstripping the 2.2% gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Industrials Index.
Those four companies and the Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about US$105 billion in US military contract orders last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
War generates big corporate profits and 21st century capitalism now wages a permanent war in the Third World. There is no peace in sight while this toxic system remains in place.
Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria: here.
This music video from England is called Jimmy Cliff at Glastonbury 2011 singing We Don’t Want Another Vietnam in Afghanistan.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Families of soldiers who died in Afghanistan say their loved ones lost their lives for nothing
Friday 03 October 2014
Speaking to British troops at Camp Bastion, the Prime Minister thanked soldiers and acknowledged that the armed forces had paid a “very high price” for bringing “stability” to the country over the past 13 years.
But bereaved relatives have said that any improvement seen in the country would “come unglued”, and the lives of 400 British soldiers who died in the war have gone to waste.
Joan Humphreys, an outspoken campaigner against the war, lost her grandson in Afghanistan in 2009. The 69-year-old from Dundee said that British forces had not achieved anything in the Middle Eastern country.
Private Kevin Elliott, 24, of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, died alongside Sergeant Stuart Millar, 40, in an explosion while on foot patrol in southern Helmand on August 31 2009.
“In my opinion we should never have been there in the first place. I don’t think we’ve achieved anything, I don’t think there’s an improvement,” she said, and added that while there appears to be an improvement in Kabul, nothing has changed in other areas.
And although families would always be proud of their loved ones, she said many felt they had “died for nothing”.
“I was very proud of my grandson but never proud of him being a soldier, never proud of his involvement in the military. I supported him, of course I did, but I wasn’t happy with him being there.”
She added that the Taliban remain, and Al Qaida is likely to return to the embattled country.
“It’s been a total waste of British lives, Afghan lives, American lives,” she said, and went on to criticise politicians who initiated the war, claiming they have forgotten that Britain is not the power it once was.
“We should just stay back and if the Americans want to go in, let them go ahead, but don’t put our servicemen in there.”
“We should never have been there and when people say it’s a job well done, it’s just unbelievably crass. There’s no consideration for the families.”
Tony Philippson’s Paratrooper son Captain James Philippson died in a firefight in June 2006, making him one of the first British soldiers to die in the conflict. He echoed Mrs Humphrey’s sentiments, and said that while his son wanted to fight in Afghanistan, he never believed the mission would succeed.
“Though my son wouldn’t have missed going there for the world, he didn’t believe for one minute it was either worth doing or that we would succeed,” said Mr Philippson, 73, from St Albans, Hertfordshire.
“But he wouldn’t miss it. He joined the Marines and then the Paras because that was where the action was.
“He knew it was for nothing but I couldn’t stop him from going because he wanted to do some soldiering. It was his decision, he was the one who was willing to take the risk.”
“What have they achieved?” he asked. “For the moment they think they have achieved a lot, but they haven’t.“
He predicted that the small improvements made in Afghanistan, such as women being able to go to school, would “all come unglued in the end.”
Additional reporting by AP
In fact, schools were already closing down in Afghanistan in 2012. Even the talk about girls being able to go to school is and was basically not reality, but talk. War propagandists’ talk.
This video says about itself:
Journeys to Australia
2 March 2010
A documentary about the experiences of five remarkable young people who journeyed to Australia as refugees, fleeing conflict and persecution from various corners of the globe.
By Rachel Evans in Australia:
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Refugee Council of Australia President Phil Glendenning told a forum on September 15 that refugees sent from Australia back to Afghanistan by the John Howard government have been killed.
Glendenning said: “Afghanistan is the worst it has been for 10 years. The insurgency has taken a new turn because no one won the election, resulting in a power vacuum, exacerbated by the US. This power vacuum is being filled by groups using violence. Roads through many areas are controlled by the Taliban.
“One Lutheran Brotherhood group has been there for 30 years. They say it’s worse than [the] Mujahideen period of Afghanistan and the period of occupation.
“Of eight Afghan refugees that were sent back under John Howard, six are dead and one is missing. Three were killed in the last 18 months for the reasons they left in the first place.
“There are three reasons people leave. One is a lack of security. There are bumper stickers on cars in Kabul saying, ‘If you’ve worked with the West we will kill you.’
“Afghanistan now has [an] under 3% growth rate. Young men who are in Kabul trying to find work have to go back to their home towns, there is just no employment for young people.
“About 60% of Afghans are now under 20. There are 48 Internal Displacement People’s camps that surround the city. But people in the camps outside Kabul are taking the risk to go back to their own home districts and get killed. So that is what happened to the three refugees that were killed recently.”
Naseri told the forum: “In Afghanistan, Hazaras are targeted and slaughtered — we are singled out. But for Hazara refugees here in Australia, there is no guarantee we will be given permanent residency. The Temporary Protection Visas [TPVs] do nothing, they just add fear to our trauma.
“TPVs get reviewed every three years. Like the Hazara who was deported just a few weeks ago, who was reviewed, when we are under review we cannot settle. But [immigration minister Scott] Morrison is faced with a problem. The detention centres are overflowing.
“Sending Hazaras back is a mistake. The Taliban will say they are Westerners, then we will be tortured and killed. There is no assurance of safety. Morrison must not throw us back to torture and death. Life on bridging visas is hard. Afghanistan [is] not safe for Hazara refugees. All asylum seekers, not just children, should be released.”
Glendenning spoke about the government’s double standards when it assesses how safe Afghanistan is for Australians, compared with Hazara refugees.
He said: “Australia is taking its [government] workers out of Afghanistan, but they are returning Afghan refugees. For example the case of the 29-year-old Hazara who was sent back a few weeks ago by the Australian government, they said it was safe to send him back. I’ve been visiting Afghanistan for a long while, and walking around there recently I saw there were no foreigners around because they are in lockdown.
“There are Western government workers who I know have been in Afghanistan for 18 months but they are locked down for 18 months — they come into their government’s compound and then they leave. Australian embassies and others don’t declare their location and their workers don’t get out to talk to Afghans. The result is they get a different, jaundiced view compared to others in charities and NGOs on the ground.”
Glenndening also criticised the rhetoric of “saving people” through the policy of “stopping the boats”.
He said: “This morning in Afghanistan, five people died in a bomb blast — mostly women and children. I asked the Afghans ‘does it stop you going?’ ‘No’ they said. And why do people come? The Taliban have a death list. Large amounts of people are on this list. This is not made-up stuff.
“The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spends $3.3 billion globally and $103 million in south-east Asia. With this, the UNHCR cares for 11 million refugees in camps and has responsibility for over 48 million refugees and displaced people worldwide.
“Australia spent $4.4 billion on detention last year. With military and added deterrence, that cost is closer to $8 billion. What an amount of money. And we take so few refugees. In [former prime minister Malcolm] Fraser’s time there were heaps more refugees coming in. And this argument – we have to be cruel to be kind. Well, it’s not being cruel to be kind, it’s just cruel.
“Then of course we have the added cruelty of our government arming the Sri Lankan government with gunships. There are far better alternatives than locking people up.
“One third of the money spent on detention would be better spent on housing refugees in the community. We have to have an alternative to punishment, we just need protection. It is all beginning to unravel. We had a man die from a cut foot. There are horrible conditions on Manus and Nauru.”
Glendenning spoke about what people can do to stop refugees being deported. “There are 43 cases, that lawyers are trying to stop. If we are not successful, the lawyers say these ones will be forced to go. I think peaceful protest has its place in cases like this. I think it’s good to contact the airlines directly. Make sure they know beforehand.
“We work closely with Refugee Action Coalition. The mobilisation of people is crucial. We need to win the hearts and minds of people. We need more people at our rallies and events. There are so many stories of people being threatened, because they are educating their families. But it can’t all just be about stories, it’s about a strategy.
“But we need to make sure the voice of the Hazara people and Sri Lankan people in this country are loud and heard. We need to make sure that is upfront.”
Indonesia’s incoming president has promised a tough approach to issues of sovereignty and issued a blunt warning to Tony Abbott, stating it is unacceptable for the Australian navy to enter Indonesian waters uninvited while turning back asylum seeker boats. Read more here.
This 2013 video is called NATO Airstrike Kills 11 Children Under 8 in Kunar, Afghanistan.
From Deutsche Welle in Germany today:
At least 11 Afghan civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike targeting Taliban fighters in the eastern province of Kunar. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
A statement from the Afghan presidential palace said President Hamid Karzai had condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
According to Assiocated Press, the death toll is fourteen.
This video from Afghanistan is called 500 Pound Bomb Dropped on U.S. Soldiers By Mistake.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Afghanistan: US bombing that killed five US soldiers and an Afghan was ‘avoidable mistake’
Saturday 6th September 2014
A US bombing in Afghanistan that killed five US soldiers and an Afghan in June was an avoidable mistake, the military admitted on Thursday.
US Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan, cited a collective failure by soldiers, commanders and aircrew members to communicate and execute the fundamentals of the mission.
As a result, the soldiers and the Afghan were mistaken for enemy forces and were hit with laser-guided bombs.
The crew of the B-1 bomber were faulted by investigators for not taking reasonable precautions to identify where friendly forces were located.
Despite discrepancies in reported US troop locations, the aircrew did not take necessary steps to validate its information before launching the bombs, the command said.
Ground forces were blamed for incorrectly communicating troop positions.
They were also criticised for not knowing that the bomber’s targeting gear was incapable of detecting friendly marking devices.
This video is called ‘Untried war crimes': Amnesty slams US military actions in Afghanistan.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
‘Flawed US military justice fails to recognise war crimes, says Amnesty International
Amnesty claims civilian deaths in Afghanistan have not been properly investigated
Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter
Monday 11 August 2014
Dozens of potential war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan have gone uninvestigated by Washington because of a “deeply flawed” military justice system, Amnesty International alleges today.
The human rights group says thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces, who are due to pull out of the country at the end of this year, but have little chance of forcing the Pentagon to hold those responsible to account where deaths were unlawful.
In an 84-page report published today, Amnesty calls on the US to end what it says is a culture of secrecy surrounding military discipline and consider replacing its “commander-driven” investigations, which rely on soldiers’ own accounts of their actions, with civilian-managed courts martial.
The organisation studied 10 American military operations which resulted in the deaths of 140 civilians between 2009 and 2013 but said none had resulted in prosecutions, despite apparent evidence of atrocities. It said that since 2009, there had been just six trials of US personnel for the alleged illegal killing of Afghan civilians.
Richard Bennett, Amnesty’s Asia Pacific director, said: “The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses. None of the cases we looked into were prosecuted by the US military. Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored.”
Amnesty said it had interviewed 125 witnesses and family members in connection with the Afghan cases, many of which involved operations by US special forces.
In two cases there was “abundant and compelling” evidence of war crimes, including the attempted cover-up of the shooting of pregnant women and torture of captives, according to the group.
American troops shot or fatally wounded five people during a night-time raid on a house where a family celebration – attended by guests including an Afghan police investigator and prosecutor – was taking place in the eastern Paktia province.
The dead included two pregnant women – one a mother of 10, the other a mother of six – and a 17-year-old girl. Witnesses told Amnesty’s investigators that after the raid in 2010, the American forces removed evidence, including digging their bullets out of walls and the bodies of the dead women.
A press release issued on behalf of US forces claimed that the troops had found the “bound and gagged” bodies of the three women in the house and suggested they may have been victims of a “traditional honour killing”.
The claims were later withdrawn and Nato admitted responsibility for all five deaths but no prosecution ever took place.
In the second case, the human rights group said there was evidence that an elite special forces unit – known as ODA 3124 – had carried out extra-judicial killings and torture during a three-month period ending in February last year in the central Wardak province.
Under international law, not every civilian death in war is unlawful. But if they have been targeted deliberately or indiscriminately then a full and impartial investigation must be held, Amnesty said.