This video is called Bagram: America’s black hole in Afghanistan.
A video from the USA, which used to be on the Internet, used to say about itself:
Bagram’s Black Hole: An Interview with Daphne Eviatar. Obama has said he’ll close Guantanamo during the first week of his presidency. But what about Bagram, a prison North of Kabul that we know considerably less about? There are approximately 250 detainees at Guantanamo and an estimated 670 at Bagram. According to a recent report in Time Magazine, “the U.S. military is building a new prison for what it calls ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ at Bagram that won’t be finished until Obama is well settled in the White House.” GRITtv host Laura Flanders talks to Daphne Eviatar, a lawyer and journalist and the author of a recent article in The American Lawyer on the legal status of Bagram’s detainees.
From IANS news agency:
Afghan workers protest maltreatment by US military
Kabul, Jan 24 – Afghan workers at Bagram Air Base have staged a protest against maltreatment by the US military, a media report said Sunday.
Employees at the US military airport and housing complex in Bagram, gathered in front of the camp to show opposition “to US’ inappropriate treatment of the workers”, Press TV reported.
Demonstrators said they have to pass through a “scanning device equipped with laser beams” which puts the employees’ health at risk.
“We have to stand in queue for many hours to pass the security check post one by one,” explained one of the protestors.
The Bagram Air Base, 11 km southeast of Charikar in Parwan province, is currently occupied by 5th and 6th aviation battalions of the US Army.
Thousands of Afghans work in the camp every day. They warned of quitting if the problem is not resolved.
“In Bagram, we were handcuffed, blindfolded, and had our feet chained for days,” he recalls. “They didn’t allow us to sleep at all for 13 days and nights”: here.
USA: On January 19, 2010, thirteen Atlanta activists from Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition (GPJC), and Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace stood in silence and turned their backs on US General David Petraeus before being removed from the 1,100-person Ferst Theater on the Georgia Tech campus: here.
In November 2009, Karl W. Eikenberry, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan and retired Army lieutenant general, sent two classified cables to his superiors in which he offered his assessment of the proposed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. While the broad outlines of Mr. Eikenberry’s cables were leaked soon after he sent them, the complete cables, obtained recently by The New York Times, show just how strongly the current ambassador feels about President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government, the state of its military, and the chances that a troop buildup will actually hurt the war effort by making the Karzai government too dependent on the United States: here.
Demonstrations and rallies were held in some 60 cities and towns across Canada last Saturday to oppose the minority Conservative government’s shutting down of parliament for two months, so as to prevent exposure of the Canadian Armed Forces’ complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees: here.
Britain and the Afghan war: here.
The “new approach” by Germany in Afghanistan is now clear, i.e., more of the same criminal military occupation that has already brought death and misery to hundreds of thousands of Afghans in a war that has already lasted twice as long as the First World War: here.
- PressTV: Afghanistan Analysts Network: US holds inmates in Bagram’s secret jail (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Unexploded NATO bombs kill Afghan civilians (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- US Can’t Close Bagram, Either (newser.com)
- Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military’s ‘Other Guantanamo’ (commondreams.org)
- US still running secret jail in Bagram (rinf.com)
- Us Military Has Another Gitmo (secretsofthefed.com)
- Obama Indefinitely Detains, Not Just at Gitmo (antiwar.com)
No more French combat troops for Afghanistan: Sarkozy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France will send no more combat troops to Afghanistan, in an interview on Monday three days before an international conference on stabilising the country, AFP reported.
“I said a year and a half ago… that there would no more combat troops (sent by France to Afghanistan), and I am trying to scrupulously keep my commitments and my word,” he said in a rare televised interview.
France may still send extra non-combat military personnel to train the Afghan security forces, Sarkozy added.
“If there is a need for more people to train, supervise the police, carry out civil engineering and help the population… why not?” he said.
France has 3,300 soldiers helping fight the Islamist Taliban movement on the ground in Afghanistan. They are among 113,000 foreign troops under US and NATO command there, to which about 40,000 are due to be added this year.
Sarkozy also cited concerns for the threat posed by the unrest in Afghanistan to stability in its nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan.
“France will stay in Afghanistan because it is question of our own security,” Sarkozy said. “If the Taliban win in Afghanistan, then Pakistan will fall.”
Britain is to host the meeting on Thursday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and foreign ministers.
It is expected to focus on how NATO-led troops can hand over to Afghan forces and efforts to persuade Taliban militants to stop fighting.
The London conference on Afghanistan: Rebranding an unpopular war
January 27, 2010
“This week’s London conference, an effort to salvage the NATO operation, will exclude voices opposed to the occupation and the continued domination of warlords.”
Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s foreign minister, is on his way to London for a major international conference on the future of Afghanistan , January 28. Hilary Clinton and other high level representatives from the NATO countries will be present, as will embattled Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
One wonders if this major global media focus on Afghanistan was part of the Harper government’s calculation in proroguing Parliament. The torture and abuse of Afghan detainees is also an issue in several European countries, and so the less riled up the Canadian press corps is from any fresh revelations back home, the better.
The agenda of the London gathering has recently been expanded to include a special session on Yemen. This in itself ironically exposes the illogic with which the expansion of the war in Afghanistan has been sold to western publics.
After all, Obama’s announcement of an additional 30,000 troops to the occupation of Afghanistan was explained with the rationale that it was vital for national security. Without a ramping up of the war, the world was told, a “safe haven” for terrorists might emerge. “Fight them over there or you will have to fight them over here.'” And yet Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the thwarted, Nigerian-born “underwear” bomber is said to have links to Yemen, so we must fight them there as well.
The “deny Al-Qaeda a safe heaven” justification opens up nearly infinite new potential fronts in the global “war on terror”, a term that has been dropped from White House press releases while its aggressive and counter-productive mentality remains in place.
On Afghanistan, the London conference is not the first of its kind, and likely won’t be the last. Its real raison d”tre is to help rebrand the Afghan War, which remains unpopular in the majority of NATO countries. As Robin Beste of the UK Stop the War Coalition  argues, “It’s a makeover aimed at turning the tide of public opinion, running so strongly against a war which is clearly futile and unwinnable. In reality the warmongers are gathering for a war council masquerading as a peace conference.”
Over the course of 2009, the bloodiest year of the eight since the invasion of Afghanistan began, public opinion in the UK in particular turned against the war. In Canada, anti-war sentiment remains strong, despite the fact that the New Democratic Party has quieted its opposition. The party leadership’s near-silence on the war itself — the NDP has loudly denounced the Conservatives on detainee abuse — can I think partly be explained by the “Obama factor,” a reluctance to be critical of the new president. But this is no time to remain silent in the face of governments that seem intent on more war and seemingly intent on ignoring the lessons of Afghanistan’s long history of resisting foreign occupation.
The history of the past decade alone can provide plenty of lessons about the real problems that plague Afghanistan. In 2001 Bonn, Germany played host to another conference of the big powers, where they established the road map to a post-Taliban Afghanistan. From the beginning, the Bush administration’s strong arm was evident: warlords and their representatives were allowed to participate, while women’s leaders were marginalized.
Sonali Kohatkar and James Ingalls, in the book Bleeding Afghanistan , describe Bonn as “ushering in yet another ominous era for women” and “silencing the voices of civil society.” Instead of progressive change, they write: “Karzai’s post-Taliban rise was purchased by allowing Northern Alliance warlords and regional militia commanders to regain military power in the countryside, and by granting them immense political power in government, squelching the hopes of most Afghans.” Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid reported that the CIA set-up communications equipment so that Karzai, who was still in Kandahar at the time, could address the delegates in Bonn. Soon after his selection, Karzai was flown to Kabul in a U.S. military plane (see Rashid’s Descent Into Chaos  for details). And thus the seeds of today’s Afghan quagmire were sown.
This week’s London conference will exclude voices opposed to the NATO intervention and the continued domination of warlords. Its whole design, under the veil of rhetoric about handing over power to Afghans, is to salvage the NATO operation and ensure a regime that is pliant to U.S. and western interests.
It will be interesting to watch how Karzai and his foreign sponsors interact. Since Bonn, he has been their man in Kabul. But the strain and sniping between the puppet and his puppeteers has been mounting. The blatant electoral fraud of last year and the rampant corruption of Karzai’s regime has been an embarrassment to his foreign masters. Meanwhile, the Afghan president has grown increasingly vocal about criticizing NATO air strikes that have killed countless civilians and wounded his government’s popularity. 
One aspect of Karzai’s tenure that doesn’t get enough coverage is the blatant nepotism. This should concern Canadians, since the most powerful man in Kandahar Province, where our troops are deployed, is the president’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, whose ties to drug trafficking have been widely reported and whom the New York Times last year exposed as being on the CIA’s payroll . In other words, Canadian troops are killing and dying to prop up Kandahar’s Al Capone .
That is something that no amount of finely crafted press statements from London is going to change. And that is just one reason for Canadians to demand, once Parliament is finally reopened, that a new motion on Afghanistan be introduced by the opposition parties, one that will reflect the wishes of the Canadian people to bring the troops home much sooner than the end of 2011.
Source URL (retrieved on Jan 27 2010 – 10:00am): http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2010/01/london-conference-afghanistan-rebranding-unpopular-war
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