This video is called Scores dead after US strike in Afghanistan – 06 May 09.
From the Brunei Times:
Huge anti-US protest in Afghanistan
Monday, May 11, 2009
HUNDREDS of Kabul university students labelled the United States “the world’s biggest terrorist” yesterday as they protested against US air strikes said to have killed scores of Afghan villagers.
Chanting “Death to America,” “Death to the biggest terrorist” and “long live Islam,” up to 1,000 protesters marched outside the university to condemn what is believed to be the deadliest such incident in nearly eight years.
Their banners read “The blood of the Farah martyrs will never dry” and “USA is the world’s biggest terrorist,” a photographer at the scene witnessed.
Another banner demanded that those responsible for the air strikes last week in southwestern Farah province go on trial.
Student leaders read out a statement condemning civilian casualties from both Taliban attacks and military strikes.
“Our people are fed up with Taliban beheadings and suicide bombings. On the other hand, the massacre of civilians by the American forces is a crime that our people will never forget,” it said.
The students’ resolution dismissed US statements of regret for civilian casualties, saying: “You cannot wash (away) the blood of Bala Buluk district martyrs with bizarre words of excuse and sorrow.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that between 125 and 130 civilians, including children and women, were killed in the strikes in Farah’s Bala Buluk district on Monday and Tuesday.
One local investigation has said 140 civilians were killed, including 94 girls aged under 18 who had gathered in a compound to take shelter from the fighting.
Some villagers said the strikes hit an area which the Taliban had already left and where there was no fighting.
Afghans riot over air-strike atrocity: here.
In the wake of last week’s massacre of some 150 civilians in western Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai demanded an end to deadly US airstrikes. US National Security Adviser James Jones responded that the bombings will go on: here.
The U.S. has killed twice as many Afghan civilians as the Taliban this year and that number is sure to rise: here.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Canadian Armed Forces’ base in Kandahar and other CAF positions in southern Afghanistan for ten hours last Thursday: here.
Anti Afghan war demonstration in Brussels, Belgium, on 29 May: here.
Navy Times: Record bombs dropped in Afghanistan in April.
The sacking of the US commander in Afghanistan and the slaying of five soldiers in Baghdad by a traumatized sergeant are symptoms of the military’s growing crisis as it continues the two wars and occupations begun under the Bush administration: here.
Posted by: “Cliff Kerr” firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun May 10, 2009 11:02 pm (PDT)
from National Priorities Project:
Military Policy Fellow
Chris Hellman is the co-author of NPP’s forthcoming Security Spending Primer: Getting Smart About the Pentagon Budget, to be released in early June.
On March 2, 2009, the Obama Administration released the initial details of its proposed Fiscal Year 2010 budget for the federal government. As part of this budget, the Administration is seeking $533.8 billion in funding for the Department of Defense, not including funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan or the nuclear weapons related activities of the Department of Energy. Adjusted for inflation, the $534 billion request is $9 billion, or 1.7 percent, more than Congress approved for the Defense Department for FY 2009.
On April 6, 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates released some additional details on the Pentagon’s FY 2010 budget request including announcing the termination of a number of major weapons systems. These included: the F-22 Fighter; the C-17 Transport Aircraft; the Presidential Helicopter; the Air Force’s Combat Search and Rescue X (CSAR-X) helicopter: the DDG-1000 “Zumwalt” class destroyer; the vehicle component of the Future Combat System (FCS); the Airborne Laser; the Transformational Satellite (TSAT) program; and the Missile Defense Agency’s Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program.
Today’s budget release also includes an additional $130.0 billon to support “Overseas Contingency Operations” (i.e. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan). Until now, the government has funded military operations through special supplemental appropriations packages. The Obama Administration, however, when it released its request for supplemental war funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2009 on April 9 stated that that would be the final supplemental request for Iraq and Afghanistan, and that starting in Fiscal Year 2010, these costs would be included as part of the White House’s annual budget request.
“Top Line” Funding — The Obama Administration is requesting $533.8 billion for the Department of Defense in Fiscal Year 2010, which begins on October 1, 2009. This is $20.5 billion more than the current levels, an increase of 4 percent, and inflation-adjust (“real”) increase of 1.7 percent. This figure does not include funding for the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy, which is considered part of total Defense Department spending. Nor does this figure include the costs of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Funding for Contingency Operations (Supplemental Appropriations) – In addition to its annual budget request, the Pentagon is also requesting $130 billion for combat operations for Fiscal Year 2010. Congress has already approved $814 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and an additional $75.5 billion in FY’09 war funding is still pending before the House and Senate.
Missile Defense – The Administration is requesting $9.3 billion for the Missile Defense Agency in FY’10, down roughly $1.6 billion from the current $10.9 billion. This total does not include $1 billion for the SBIRS-High satellite. The request calls for the termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV), and cancels the second airborne laser (ABL) prototype aircraft, keeping the existing aircraft as part of a restructured R&D program.
Shipbuilding – The request includes funding for the continued development of the Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program ($1.4 billion) the Littoral Combat Ship ($1.9 billion for three vessels), and $4.2 billion for the purchase of one SSN-774 “Virginia” class nuclear attack submarine. It also includes $2.2 billion to restart production of the DDG-51 “Arleigh Burke” destroyer class and purchase one vessel, and includes $1.6 billion to complete the funding for the third and final DDG-1000 [DD(x)] “Zumwalt” class destroyer program.
Aircraft – As previously announced by Secretary Gates, the request includes no funding for additional F-22 or C-17 aircraft. The request includes $1.2 billion for 9 of the Navy’s F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet,” $2.7 billion for procurement of 35 V-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor aircraft, and $10.4 billion for 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. It also includes $440 million for the Air Force’s KC-X new aerial re-fueling tanker program, with the intent to solicit bids this summer.
Army Ground Systems – On April 6 Secretary Gates announced a major restructuring of the Future Combat System (FCS), including termination of the current $87 billion manned vehicle, but the request includes nearly $3 billion for other aspects of the program. The request funds $5.5 billion for procurement of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and $1.7 billion for HMMWV “Humvee” vehicles, plus $479 million support funding for the “Stryker” armored vehicle program.
Military Personnel – The request includes an increase in base pay of 2.9 percent. According to the Pentagon, base pay has risen over 35 percent since 2001.
Army/Marine Corps End Strengths – The budget request reflects the fact that the Army and Marine Corps have reached their end strength goals of 547,400 and 202,100 active duty personnel respectively sooner than planned. In addition, the budget calls for reducing the number of planned Army Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) from 45 to 48 while maintaining the planned increase in end strength of 547,000. The decision is intended to ensure that the remaining BCTs will be fully manned when deployed and reduces the Army’s use of its “stop loss” program.
Nuclear and Strategic Forces – Begins the replacement of the Navy’s “Ohio” class ballistic missile submarines in FY 2010, and delays the development of the next generation Air Force bomber program.
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) — The Administration is requesting $404.1 million for the CTR (also known as “Nunn-Lugar”) program, 6.9 percent below the current level of $434.1 million. The CTR program assists Russia and the former Soviet republics safeguard weapons of mass destruction and related technologies.
Department of Energy Activities – The request includes $6.384 billion for the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy (a $4.4 million increase), and $2.137 billion for DoE’s nuclear nonproliferation work (a $654 million increase, or 44 percent above current levels). It also includes $5.496 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup, $161 million (or 2.9 percent) below current levels. [SOURCE: The Department of Energy’s Fiscal Year 2010 request]
FY’10 FUNDING BY FUNCTION
$136.0 billion — Military Personnel (up $11.1 billion)
$185.7 billion — Operations & Maintenance (up $8.4 billion)
$107.4 billion – Procurement (up $5.7 billion)
$78.6 billion — RDT&E (down $0.9 billion)
$21.0 billion — Military Construction (down $0.9 billion)
$2.0 billion– Family Housing (down $1.2 billion)
$3.1 billion – Other (down $0.1 billion)
$533.8 billion — TOTAL (051) (up $20.5 billion)
FY’10 FUNDING BY SERVICE
$142.1 billion – Army (up $2.9 billion)
$156.4 billion – Navy/Marine Corps (up $9.0 billion)
$144.5 billion — Air Force (up $3.3 billion)
$90.8 billion — Defense Wide (up $5.3 billion)
$533.8 billion — TOTAL (051) (up $20.5 billion)
FY’10 FUNDING REQUEST FOR BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE
Ballistic Missile Defense
$10,920.5 million — FY’09 Total
$9,301.5 million — FY’10 Request
Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (MDA) — Selected Functions
$956.7 million — FY’09 Total
$719.5 million — FY’10 Request
$400.8 million — FY’09 Total
$186.7 million — FY’10 Request
$1,507.5 million — FY’09 Total
$982.9 million — FY’10 Request
$1,170.5 million — FY’09 Total
$1,859.5 million — FY’10 Request
$882.4 million — FY’09 Total
$1,117.5 million — FY’10 Request
$767.6 million — FY’09 Total
$636.9 million — FY’10 Request
Space Tracking & Surveillance
$208.9 million – FY’09 Total
$180.0 million – FY’10 Request
$119.3 million — FY’09 Total
$109.8 million — FY’10 Request
BMD System Interceptors
$385.5 million — FY’09 Total
$0 — FY’10 Request
Multiple Kill Vehicle
$283.5 million — FY’09 Total
$0 million — FY’10 Request
NOTE: On April 6 Secretary Gates announced that the Pentagon was terminating this program
BMD European Components
$465.5 million — FY’09 Total
$50.5 million — FY’10 Request
$0 million — FY’09 Total
$119.6 million — FY’10 Request
Non-MDA Ballistic Missile Defense
$460.8 million — FY’09 Total
$585.6 million — FY’10 Request
$1,037.1 million — FY’09 Total
$404.4 million — FY’10 Request
Space Based Infra-Red System-High (SBIRS-High)
$2,335.5 million — FY’09 Total
$1,013.5 million — FY’10 Request
GRAND TOTAL Ballistic Missile Defense
$13,256.0 million — FY’09 Total
$10,315.0 million — FY’10 Request
Source: DoD’s FY 2010 “Program Acquisition Costs by Weapon System,” February 2009.
FUNDING FOR SELECTED WEAPONS SYSTEMS
NOTE: Amounts reflect weapons funding included in both the base budget request and the FY 2010 Overseas Contingencies Operations funding request
$1,015.2 million requested
$350.8 million — per unit cost
$64,539.9 million — total program cost
NOTE: On April 6 Secretary Gates announced that the Pentagon was ending the program at 187 aircraft, the last four of which are to be funded as part of the Fiscal Year 2009 Emergency Supplemental spending package announced on April 9.
F-35 Fighter (JSF)
$10,426.9 million requested for 30 aircraft (20 Navy and 10 Air Force)
$121.7 million — per unit cost
$298,842.8 million — total program cost
$1,188.7 million requested for 9 aircraft
$94.0 million — per unit cost
$46,344.8 million — total program cost
E/A-18G Jamming Aircraft
$1,687.8 million requested for 22 aircraft
$101.8 million — per unit cost
$8,649.1 million — total program cost
C-17 Transport Aircraft
$852.4 million requested
$327.9 million — per unit cost
$62,306.7 million — total program cost
NOTE: On April 6 Secretary Gates announced that the Pentagon would end production of the C-17 at 205 aircraft, the number already approved by Congress. The amount requested includes funding for shut down of C-17 production
C-130J Cargo Aircraft
$509.2 million requested for 3 aircraft
$89.8 million — per unit cost
$12,029.3 million — total program cost
Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA)
$328.5 million requested for 8 aircraft
$52.4 million — per unit cost
$4,087.8 million — total program cost
KC-X Next Generation Airborne Tanker
$429.6 million requested
V-22 Osprey Aircraft
$2,860.4 million requested for 35 aircraft (30 Navy and 5 Air Force)
$118.4 million — per unit cost
$54,226.9 million — total program cost
MH-60R “Seahawk” Helicopter
$1,025.2 million requested for 24 aircraft
$47.8 million — per unit cost
$12,139.4 million — total program cost
MH-60S “Knighthawk” Helicopter
$542.0 million requested for 18 aircraft
$28.9 million — per unit cost
$7,843.0 million — total program cost
Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program (CVN-21)
$1,397.3 million requested
$11,706.4 — per unit cost
$35,119.1 million — total program cost
DDG-1000 (DDx) Surface Combatant
$1,623.2 million requested
$4,126.7 million — per unit cost
$28,886.7 million — total program cost
NOTE: On April 6 Secretary Gates announced that the Pentagon was ending the DDG-1000 program at three vessels. The funds requested in FY’10 are to complete the third vessel.
DDG-51 “Arleigh Burke” Class Destroyer
$2,241.3 million for one vessel
$1,012.2 million — per unit cost
$62,756.3 million — total program cost
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
$1,877.8 million requested for three vessels
$1,424.3 million– per unit cost
$2,848.6 million — total program cost
[NOTE: “Total Program Cost” for LCS reflects only the cost of Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E).]
SSN-774 “Virginia” Attack Submarine
$4,182.0 million requested for one vessel
$3,065.5million — per unit cost
$91,965.3 million — total program cost
LPD-17 Landing Ship
$1,062.2 million requested
$1,582.4 million — per unit cost
$14,241.7 million — total program cost
T-AKE Cargo & Ammunition Ship
$940.1 million for two vessels
Trident II D-5 Missile
$1,135.4 million requested for 24 missiles
$69.2 million — per unit cost
$38,817.4 million — total program cost
Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile
$296.3 million requested for 196 missiles
$1.33 — per unit cost
$4,375.3 million — total program cost
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
$203.0 million requested for 7,452 units
$0.03 million — per unit cost
$5,260.1 million — total program cost
Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW)
$155.3 million requested for 430 units
$0.44 million — per unit cost
$4,586.7 million — total program cost
Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM)
$82.2 million requested
$1.2 million — per unit cost
$6,065.8 million — total program cost
Small Diameter Bomb
$339.8 million requested for 2,440 units
$0.06 million — per unit cost
$1,476.9 million — total program cost
Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV)
$478.9 million requested
$4.4 million — per unit cost
$15,691.1 million — total program cost
Future Combat System (FCS)
$2,981.0 million requested
N/A — per unit cost
$159,320.2 million — total program cost
NOTE: On April 6, Secretary Gates announced a major restructuring of the FCS program, including termination of its $87 billion vehicle component
Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV)
$1,620.2 million requested for 5,532 vehicles
$0.25 million — per unit cost
$20,676.4 million — total program cost
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
$293.5 million requested
$26.8 million — per unit cost
$15,860.2 million — total program cost
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP)
$5,456.0 million requested for 1,080 vehicles
$1.46 million — per unit cost
$22,415.0 million — total program cost
HMMWV “Humvee” Vehicle
$1,746.9 million requested for 10,268 vehicles
Sources: DoD’s FY 2010 Budget Request Summary Justification “Major Weapons Systems,” February 2009.
“Per Unit Costs” and “Total Program Costs” are based on DoD’s Selected Acquisition Report, November 17, 2008. “Per Unit Costs” are derived by dividing total program costs by the number of systems purchased, and include both procurement and research & development funding.
* Military Budget — Military spending contained in the Pentagon budget, intelligence budget, Department of Energy military programs, and a few smaller programs
* Budget Authority (BA) — total amount that Congress makes available to an agency through authorizations and appropriations in a Fiscal Year
* Outlays — Amount an agency actually spends, money that has been approved in current or prior fiscal years
* DoD — Department of Defense
* DoE — Department of Energy
* Fiscal Year (FY) — from October 1 through September 30
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The Widening War in Afghanistan/Pakistan (Af-Pak)
This week, Congress will vote on another $85 billion for Af-Pak and Iraq. But our careless bombing in Af-Pak is only making things worse. And there are horrifying new reports we used white phosphorus against civilians.
This week, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) will propose an amendment for an Afghanistan Exit Strategy. Please sign our new petition to your Representatives and Senators: http://www.democrats.com/afghan-exit-petition?cid=ZGVtczE0MDA2MmRlbXM=
Thanks for all you do!
Phosphorus claim after deadly air strikes
* Jon Boone, Kabul
* May 12, 2009
AFGHANISTAN’S main human rights organisation is investigating claims white phosphorus was used in a battle between US forces and the Taliban last week in which scores of civilians may have died.
Nader Nadery, a senior officer at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said the organisation was concerned that the chemical, which can cause severe burns, might have been used in the firefight at Bala Buluk, a district in the western province of Farah.
Dr Mohammad Aref Jalali, the head of an internationally funded burns hospital in Herat, said villagers had “highly unusual burns” on their hands and feet that he had not seen before.
“We cannot be 100 per cent sure what type of chemical it was and we do not have the equipment here to find out. One of the women who came here told us that 22 members of her family were totally burned. She said a bomb distributed white powder that caught fire and then set people’s clothes alight.”
US forces deny they used the chemical, and say claims that up to 147 civilians were killed are grossly exaggerated.
Afghan police have said that more than 100 people were killed in the strikes and ground fighting, about 25 to 30 of them insurgents and the remainder civilians, including elderly people and children.
President Hamid Karzai, on a visit to Washington, told CNN his Government’s information was that nearly 125 to 130 civilians were killed, including women and children.
“Air strikes are not acceptable,” Mr Karzai said, demanding that they end. That view is privately backed by many in the United Nations.
Members of the human rights department at the UN mission in Afghanistan have been appalled by testimony from people in the village, according to an official in Kabul who said bombs were dropped after militants had quit the battlefield. This appeared to be backed up by the US Air Force’s own daily report, published online.
“The stories that are emerging are quite frankly horrifying,” the official said. “It is quite apparent that the large bulk of civilian casualties were called in after the initial fighting had subsided and both the troops and the Taliban had withdrawn.
“Local villagers went to the mosque to pray for peace. Shortly after evening prayers the air strikes were called in, and they continued for a couple of hours whilst the villagers were frantically calling the local governor to get him to call off the air strikes.”
He said that women and children hid inside their homes while their men went onto the roofs with guns. US forces say these men were militants, but the UN official said they were simply villagers and “it is totally normal for them to have guns”.
In Washington, National Security Adviser James Jones said on Sunday that the US military should keep open the option of air strikes against Taliban forces, but he acknowledged that civilian deaths were damaging support for the war.
“How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?” Mr Karzai said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Mr Jones and General David Petraeus, the US commander over the region, said the US would redouble efforts to minimise civilian casualties. General Petraeus promised a thorough investigation, but he said Taliban fighters bore “enormous blame” for the toll in Farah province last week. He accused them of using civilians as human shields.
GUARDIAN, WASHINGTON POST, AFP
Pak faces biggest migration since partition due to fighting with Taliban
Lahore | May 11, 2009 10:13:09 AM IST
The United Nations has warned that an estimated 200,000 Pakistanis have fled the Swat valley this week alone and another 300,000 are poised to flee if they get the chance, taking the total migration to one million people forced away from their homes by fighting in the past 12 months, making it the biggest internal displacement in Pakistan since Independence in 1947.
Aid agencies have warned of up to 500,000 people from the country’s northwest fleeing their homes.
Tales of Taliban terror, accusations of shelling by the army and the misery of sudden destitution fill the camps now sprouted for those fleeing Pakistan’s offensive against extremists in the Swat valley.
“People are in shock. In some cases their homes have been destroyed. They are wondering when they’ll be able to go back. Others already say they will not be able to go back,” a UNICEF official interviewed in a Mardan refugee camp said.
The vast Jalala camp, just north of Mardan, the first big town on the road south out of Swat, was established just four days ago but it was declared full Sunday. The other main camp in Mardan, called Sheikh Shehzad, is also full, so future arrivals will now have to trek further to find shelter, Globe and Mail reports.
As the offensive started last week, there were perhaps a million people still in Swat. The Pakistani authorities have said that they expect between 500,000 and 800,000 to flee Swat and its neighbouring two districts, Dir and Buner, where operations against the Taliban are also under way.
British TV report: Feud, falsehoods inspired US attack that killed scores in Afghan village
By: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
13/06/2009 7:50 PM | Comments: 0
LONDON – A British television report to be broadcast on Monday says American forces who killed scores of people last August in Azizabad, western Afghanistan, attacked the village on the basis of false allegations inspired by a blood feud with a neighbouring community.
An hour-long, in-depth documentary, previewed by The Associated Press and to be broadcast by Channel 4, includes scenes from a Herat provincial court trial in which a leader from the rival village was sentenced to death for murder for having given false information leading to the deaths of 91 innocent Azizabad civilians.
Despite that court ruling, the U.S. Central Command maintains its position that the Americans killed 22 Taliban fighters, along with only 33 civilians.
The British broadcaster will also report that U.S. Special Forces are not co-operating with local police seeking three men from Kalask, the rival village, in the torture death of an Azizabad man. The suspects are guards at the U.S. base in nearby Shindand.
The report’s producer-director and narrator, Tom Roberts, says provincial officials believe U.S. forces have taken sides in the inter-village feud, which apparently stems from competition for Shindand base jobs.
The Azizabad attack badly strained U.S. relations with its Afghan ally, as has a more recent U.S. attack, in Farah province on May 4-5, when Afghan officials say 140 villagers were killed. U.S. officials say no more than 30 civilians died, along with 60 to 65 militants.
After the ground and air assault by U.S. and Afghan forces last Aug. 22 on Azizabad, the U.S. military said 30 militants were killed and no civilians. It later acknowledged five civilian deaths. Still later, a Central Command investigative report raised the civilian toll to 33.
Investigations by the Afghan government and the United Nations, meanwhile, found that some 90 civilians were killed. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said no Taliban were killed, and the attack was based on “total misinformation” that enemy were present in Azizabad.
At the trial in March, a panel of judges found Kalask village’s Mohammed Nader guilty of murder, saying he knowingly gave U.S. forces false information about Azizabad. Residents had testified to seeing Nader with the raiders that night. His conviction and death sentence are on appeal.
Local police appearing in the Channel 4 report also describe an ambush of Azizabad men by Kalask residents last December, when an Azizabad man was killed, fellow villagers rushed to the rescue, and Shindand base guards also arrived on the scene.
One Azizabad man was then seized and taken away in a convoy of U.S. Special Forces and Afghan guards, the police say. Four hours later, they say, the Americans delivered the man’s body to an Afghan army headquarters. An autopsy found he had been tortured, Channel 4 reports.
Since then, authorities have been unable to get U.S. co-operation in disarming and handing over three Afghan guards suspected in the man’s death, the report says.
Asked to comment on these elements of the TV report, spokesman Maj. John H. Redfield said the Central Command “stands by” its earlier investigation. Though asked specifically about the wanted men, he did not address the issue.
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