This video is called Afghan President’s Drug Lord Brother on CIA Payroll for 8 Years.
Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad of today:
DEN BOSCH – The military historian Christ Klep and the military trade union AFMP say that they knew that the Dutch Department of Defense knew that the pub managed by [ex Afghan war captain] Marco Kroon had a history as a [cocaine] drugs café.
The Ministry of Defense, nevertheless, knowingly, had nominated Kroon for the Military William Order, taking a big risk. Kroon is currently suspected of arms and drugs offenses.
According to the AFMP and Klep, the department should have taken action in May last year, before the presentation of the decoration. Kroon, according to Klep, should have been made to choose between the Order and the café. …
Historian Klep says, however, that Defense wanted the medal for Kroon by any means. “They needed a hero.” He refers to several reliable sources within Defense. “A previous nomination for performance in Srebrenica had been stopped. That had caused bad blood.”
According to Dutch daily Spits, when she pinned the medal on Captain Kroon, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands called the war in Uruzgan, Afghanistan “one of the most striking examples of the humanitarian tasks” of the Dutch armed forces.
Also according to Spits, Kroon has an armed forces desk job now, while also managing the disreputable pub. Kroon’s fellow soldier, fellow Den Bosch inhabitant, and gymnasics international Yuri van Gelder was dismissed from the armed forces last year for cocaine.
Update September 2010: here. And here.
This is a Dutch TV September 2010 update video.
This is a Dutch TV November 2010 video update.
Talking about Afghanistan:
Lethal Nato bombing details leaked
A deadly airstrike in Afghanistan‘s Kunduz province last September did not comply with Nato’s rules of engagement, according to the military organisation’s own investigators.
In a leaked document published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel this week, it was revealed that crucial information was withheld from US pilots by the German military, who ordered the attack that killed scores of Afghan civilians.
The newspaper says Nato investigators looking into the September 4 bombing, which claimed 142 lives, found that US fighter pilots were inappropriately ordered to attack two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban in northern Kunduz.
Thousands of Afghan civilians have began fleeing their homes before a threatened US military offensive against Taliban fighters: here.
This video is called Displaced Afghans face harsh winter.
NATO to Afghans: We’re Invading Your Town. Don’t Leave! Here.
The U.S. and its Allies Have 700 Bases in Afghanistan: here.
Anand Gopal, a journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan, reports on the clandestine detention facilities that the U.S. continues to operate in Afghanistan: here.
Blackwater, Now Xe, Vying For $1 Billion Contract To Train Afghan National Police: here.
Iraq has ordered about 250 former and current employees of Blackwater Worldwide to leave the country within seven days or face having their visas pulled: here.
Three independent investigations have confirmed a CorpWatch investigation into a $305 million USAID project to build a diesel-fueled power plant in Kabul: here.
Most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD did not get enough care, study shows: here.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Japan calls back refuelling ship as part of policy shift
TOKYO: Japanese naval ships returned home on Saturday at the close of an eight-year refuelling mission in support of US-led military operations in Afghanistan, as strains persist in the US-Japan alliance.
On the same day Japan dispatched peacekeeping troops to Haiti to help deal with the aftermath of the Caribbean nation’s huge earthquake.
The 13,500-tonne supply ship Mashu and the 4,550-tonne destroyer Ikazuchi, with some 340 personnel on board, arrived at Harumi Wharf in Tokyo Bay to a welcome from their families and government officials. Last month Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa announced an end to the Indian Ocean mission supplying oil and water to vessels used by international forces engaged in Afghanistan.
The move fulfilled a pledge by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s centre-left government, which ousted the long-ruling conservatives five months ago promising a less subservient relationship with the United States. Hatoyama, whose coalition includes the strongly pacifist Social Democrats, has reiterated that Japan will not deploy troops to Afghanistan, instead pledging to step up humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. “As prime minister, I am proud of your professionalism,” Hatoyama said as he and Kitazawa welcomed home the ships and their crew. “Our government will positively play an appropriate role in humanitarian assistance, prevention of terrorism and UN peacekeeping activities,” said Hatoyama.
The return coincided with the departure of a first batch of some 350 Japanese troops for Haiti to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission there. It will be Japan’s first participation in overseas UN peacekeeping operations under the Hatoyama administration. The first batch of about 160 ground troops left Tokyo’s Haneda airport and will arrive in Haiti Sunday, officials said.
“Our turn has finally come,” Masaharu Yamamoto, head of the mission, told a departing ceremony. “Representing Japan, we will do our best to work for people in Haiti with our pride and sincerity in mind.”
The troops, mostly engineers and logistical support staff, are expected to remove rubble, repair roads and build shelters for quake victims. afp
The US Military: A Mindset of Barbarism
Saturday 06 February 2010
by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Interview (Part 1)
“Illegal rules of engagement (ROE) are issued by officers and politicians at the top of the Army’s hierarchy, but only low-ranking soldiers are punished for carrying out those same rules and orders.”
On December 27, in the eastern Kunar region of Afghanistan, ten Afghans, eight of whom were schoolchildren, were dragged from their beds and shot by US forces during a nighttime raid. Afghan government investigators said the eight students were aged from 11 to 17 years.
This incident is but one example of countless atrocities US military personnel have carried out in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, US military personnel torturing detainees in Abu Ghraib, Iraqi civilians suffering the violence meted out by US forces, or US forces detaining schoolchildren in Baghdad, the list of atrocities is seemingly endless.
Dr. Stjepan Mestrovic, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, has written three books on US misconduct in Iraq: “The Trials of Abu Ghraib: An Expert Witness Account of Shame and Honor,” “Rules of Engagement?: Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq,” and “The ‘Good Soldier’ on Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq.” He has three degrees from Harvard University, including a Master’s degree in clinical psychology, and has been an expert witness in psychology and sociology at several Article 32 hearings, courts-martial, and clemency hearings involving US soldiers accused of committing crimes of war in Iraq, including the trials of prison guards involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Dr. Mestrovic’s books meticulously document how the US Army, as an institution, has become dysfunctional, and how illegal rules of engagement (ROE) are issued by officers and politicians at the top of the Army’s hierarchy, but only low-ranking soldiers are punished for carrying out those same rules and orders. As an example, in one of the several hearings Dr. Mestrovic has attended as an expert witness, US soldiers openly admitted they had shot a 75-year-old man who had emerged unarmed from his house, but because the soldiers were following the rule to shoot all “military aged males,” neither they nor their officers were charged for that death.
Truthout recently conducted an extended two-part interview with Dr. Mestrovic.
Truthout: Can you describe the process that occurs within the US military that leads to a mindset that allows atrocities to occur? How is it that soldiers commit atrocities like murdering an unarmed 75-year-old Iraqi man?
Dr. Mestrovic: This mindset is rooted in American history and might be peculiar to it. By way of metaphor, it might be characterized by a line from a You Tube video, “Startrekking Across the Universe,” wherein the fictional Captain Kirk says: “We come in peace, shoot to kill.” In the classic work, “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville captured this seeming contradiction in American “habits of the heart” with regard to Native Americans, slaves and all those deemed as “other.” Tocqueville points out that unlike the Spaniards, English or French conquerors, the Americans went out of their way to pass laws and enact treaties to justify their mistreatment of others. So, for example, slavery was considered immoral, but was legal. Similarly, extermination of the Indians was immoral, but the government signed treaties before it broke them. So-called “witches” were executed only after they were given trials and assigned lawyers. And so on. It seems that Tocqueville captured an important aspect of American culture that continues to this day.
Fast-forwarding to World War II, the US engaged in numerous acts that some historians and lawyers believe could have been called war crimes had the US lost that war. Examples include the firebombing of German and Japanese cities, and of course, dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fast-forwarding further to the Vietnam War, the US established policies of “search and destroy” missions in “free-fire” zones. The important point is that these acts were justified by all sorts of legal jargon about “status-based” targets (which apparently means that the target is considered “hostile” simply by existing, and therefore constitutes a potential threat).
This sort of legalizing of acts that otherwise might be considered atrocities has continued in the current, long war on terror. For example, it is no secret that John Yoo and other White House lawyers went out of their way to make torture seem lawful. In this and other acts, the government continues to behave in the manner described by Tocqueville.
Focusing directly on the incident in question, there is no doubt that the Army regarded the killing of the unarmed Iraqi man as lawful. The ROE for that mission was to kill every military-aged Iraqi male on sight, and that is what the soldiers did. The victim was pre-designated as a “status-based” and “hostile” target based upon existing American military law. Some may regard the killing of the man as murder, because he was unarmed and did not show any signs of hostile intent. None of that matters from the point of view of the mindset we are discussing here. In fact, all the military as well as civilian attorneys with whom I have spoken agree that had the soldiers carried out their ROE that day and killed on sight all the Iraqi males they encountered that day, no charges would have been pressed against any of them. Their “mistake,” from the mindset being discussed here, is that they showed mercy and took some of the Iraqis as prisoners, and then killed them. From their point of view, they were still carrying out the original ROE by killing the prisoners. In fact, they were told not to take any prisoners. But from the legal standpoint of the American cultural mindset, there are legal rules for treating and killing prisoners, which are different from killing “status-based” or pre-designated targets.
It would take us too far astray to discuss the further contradictions in American lawspeak. The more important point is that legal scholars and lawyers in the courtroom cannot agree on the terminology that should be used to describe what happened. It is as if it is an event that literally cannot be put into words. I should mention just some of the legal morass. For example, technically and legally, the Iraqi males were not “prisoners” or “prisoners of war” (who have rights under the Geneva Conventions) but were designated as “detainees.” To be sure, there are rules about the treatment of “detainees,” but these are different from the rules pertaining to real “prisoners of war.” No one is entirely certain about the legal status of “detainees.”
The overall point is that the mindset which led to this atrocity is that the victims were pre-designated as targets in a lawful manner. But this mindset only raises numerous legal, cultural and moral issues, and does not close the door to them.
Truthout: Explain why, through your research, you call the institution of the US Army “dysfunctional?”
Dr. Mestrovic: One could start with the observation by Samuel Stouffer in his 1949 classic, “The American Soldier,” which still holds. Namely, Stouffer observed that the US Army, like all armies, is archaic and authoritarian in its structure while its soldiers come from a democratic society. Democracy and authoritarianism do not mix, and lead to dysfunction. Stouffer found that commissioned officers are treated almost like royalty whereas low-ranking soldiers are treated as less than full Americans.
I have found numerous, glaring examples of dysfunctions in my research based upon this basic contradiction that was uncovered by Stouffer. For example, I found it shocking that US soldiers at Abu Ghraib slept in jail cells (just like the detainees did) and did not have access to toilets, not even portable toilets. Part of the democratic spirit is that all persons should have equal access to basic human needs. Shocking testimony by the supply officer at the Abu Ghraib trials was that the soldiers at Abu Ghraib did not have access to suitable or sufficient food, water, light or sleep. From Stouffer’s perspective, this state of affairs can be described as positively medieval: the “leisure class” (commissioned officers) looked after its needs and interests, but did not look after the interests of its low-ranking soldiers. So much attention has been paid to the photographs regarding the mistreatment of “detainees” at Abu Ghraib, that hardly anybody has noticed the Army’s mistreatment of its own soldiers during this mission.
In fact, I have come across systemic dysfunctions in numerous war crimes cases. Sleep deprivation is a huge problem. Sleep should be considered a necessity like food and water, because chronic sleep deprivation for soldiers leads to errors in judgment, including moral judgment. But soldiers told me that they routinely slept less than four hours per day. Another issue is PTSD. I have come across numerous cases of soldiers who were diagnosed with PTSD who were not treated and who were sent out on combat missions despite this diagnosis. Why aren’t commanders and commissioned officers mindful of the basic, human needs of their soldiers? Part of the answer might be that in a truly democratic society, individuals would protest and demand their rights to basic human needs, including sleep and treatment for PTSD. But the Army is an authoritarian society, so apparently soldiers have no recourse but to obey. These are among the observations that have led me to conclude that the Army is dysfunctional.
Truthout: Please give some of examples of this.
Dr. Mestrovic: I’ve already given some examples in relation to Stouffer’s observations about the American soldier in combat. Let me give a few more examples with regard to military law. In general, the US soldier gives up many Constitutional rights by joining the Army. The court-martial system is as archaic and authoritarian as the rest of the army structure. Military judges and prosecutors are not the equals of the accused, but are his or her military superiors. That fact alone changes the dynamics of the military legal process.
Let me put it this way. It is a cruel irony that alleged terrorists such as KSM who will be tried in civilian US courts will be granted more Constitutional rights than soldiers who are accused in the military court-martial system. Another cruel irony is that several corporate law firms have volunteered their services, pro bono, in defense of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo and elsewhere, in the interests of protecting Constitutional rights. But to my knowledge, not a single corporate law firm has volunteered to defend the Constitutional rights of US soldiers. Most people do not think about the huge discrepancy between the democratic structure of American society versus the authoritarian structure of the American military. I should end with a quote from a soldier interviewed by Stouffer: “We just want to be treated like Americans again.” I believe Stouffer’s observation still applies.
(To be continued in Part 2.)
Canadian Forces Commander charged
BIOGRAPHY: Col. Russell Williams
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | 9:57 PM ET
Col. Russell Williams, left, gives a tour of CFB Trenton to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, centre, and Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of defence staff, on Jan. 17.Col. Russell Williams, left, gives a tour of CFB Trenton to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, centre, and Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of defence staff, on Jan. 17. (Trentonian/QMI Agency)
Col. Russell Williams, a high-ranking Canadian military commander who has met with senior politicians and been quoted extensively about the war in Afghanistan and the earthquake in Haiti, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of two women from eastern Ontario.
Williams, of Tweed, Ont., commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, was arrested Sunday in Ottawa and charged with the slayings of Jessica Lloyd, 27, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38.
He was also charged with forcible confinement, breaking and entering, and sexual assault in relation to two home invasions in the Tweed area in September 2009. Here’s a look at key points in Williams’ 23-year military career:
WIlliams, who was born on March 7, 1963, joins the Canadian Forces after getting a degree in economics and political science from the University of Toronto.
Williams earns his wings and is posted to 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, based in Portage La Prairie, Man., where he serves for two years as an instructor.
Col. Russell Williams is facing two first-degree murder charges and two sexual assault charges. Col. Russell Williams is facing two first-degree murder charges and two sexual assault charges. (Gerri Weatherbee/Northumberland Today)
Williams is posted to 434 Combat Support Squadron in Shearwater, N.S., where he flies the CC-144 Challenger in the electronic warfare and coastal patrol role.
He is then posted to the 412 Transport Squadron in Ottawa, where he transports VIPs, including high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries, also on Challengers.
Williams is promoted major and is posted to Director General Military Careers, where he serves as the multi-engine pilot career manager.
August 2003 to June 2004
Williams obtains a master’s of defence studies from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.
Williams is promoted lieutenant-colonel and appointed commanding officer of 437 Transport Squadron in Trenton, Ont., a post he held for two years.
December 2005 to June 2006
Williams is the commanding officer at Camp Mirage, the Canadian Forces forward logistics base that’s not officially acknowledged by the government or military but has been widely reported to be near Dubai.
Williams is posted to the Directorate of Air Requirements, where he served as project director for the Airlift Capability Projects Strategic (CC177 Globemaster III) and Tactical (CC130J Hercules J), and Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue.
Williams is posted to the Canadian Forces Language School in Gatineau, Que., for six months of French-language training, during which he is promoted colonel.
July 15, 2009
Williams succeeds Col. Mike Hood as commanding officer at CFB Trenton.
Dec. 11, 2009
Williams welcomes the Olympic torch when it stops in Trenton. ” It’s very exciting to be a part of this,” he says.
Jan. 30, 2010
Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, left, was slain Nov. 25, 2009. The body of Jessica Lloyd, 27, right, was found by police on Feb. 8. Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, left, was slain Nov. 25, 2009. The body of Jessica Lloyd, 27, right, was found by police on Feb. 8. (Canadian Press)
Williams is interviewed about 8 Wing’s participation in Haiti relief. He says that in addition to Haiti, 8 Wing co-ordinates the resupply for Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and air support for the Vancouver Olympics, which has a significant military presence.
Williams is arrested in Ottawa and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jessica Lloyd, 27, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38.
He is also charged with two sexual assaults that happened in Tweed in September.
According to Williams’s DND profile, he is a keen photographer, fisherman and runner. He and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, have homes in Tweed, Ont., which is about 60 kilometres northeast of CFB Trenton, and in Ottawa.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/02/08/f-williams-biography.html#ixzz0fDgVyq5X
Col. Russell Williams, 46, is seen at Canadian Forces Base Trenton on Jan. 17, 2010, during the deployment of the disaster assistance team to Haiti. Williams, commander of one of Canada’s busiest air force bases, 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Jessica Lloyd, 27, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38. (Warrant Officer Carole Morissette/Combat Camera)
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