This video from the USA is called Rick Rowley: Recent NATO Attacks on Afghan Civilians Show U.S. Military Surge Strategy Has Failed.
From PAN news agency in Afghanistan:
June 22, 2011
ISAF kills 2 farmers in Laghman
The forces killed two farmers, Mohammad Aziz and Abdul Qahir, sons of Sher Mohammad Sahibzada
By Obaidullah Baidar
International forces killed two civilians during an operation in the eastern province of Laghman, an official said on Wednesday.
Soldiers arrived by helicopter in Wat Jabarkhel village of Alingar district around 12 am and raided the house of a farmer in the village, Alingar District Chief Syed Mohammad Sharif, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The forces killed two farmers, Mohammad Aziz and Abdul Qahir, sons of Sher Mohammad Sahibzada, he said.
It is rumored that a brother of the victims had links with militants, but that man was not killed in the raid, he said.
“I don’t know why the NATO-led troops killed these people,” he said.
According to a resident of the area, Abdullah, the two deceased men were irrigating their fields when foreign troops killed them and injured a child.
But a statement from [the] media office of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said that a combined Afghan and coalition security force killed two armed insurgents during a security search targeting a Taliban leader in Alingar district, Laghman province on Tuesday.
If NATO kills some Afghan, then that makes the person killed automatically posthumously an “armed insurgent” [sarcasm off].
USA: Ellen Brown, Truthout: “The military is the nation’s largest and most firmly entrenched entitlement program, one that takes half of every tax dollar. Even if ‘national security’ is considered our No. 1 priority (a dubious choice when the real unemployment rate is over 16 percent), estimates are that the military budget could be cut in half or more and we would still have the most powerful military machine in the world. Our enemies (if any) are now ‘terrorists,’ not countries; and what is needed to contain them (if anything) is local policing, not global warfare….. The military is not subject to ordinary market principles, but works on a ‘cost-plus’ basis, with producers reimbursed for whatever they have spent plus a guaranteed profit”: here.
The Miracle of Procurement Debunked Again: The Air Force Finally Got Tired of Getting Screwed (Literally). Dina Rasor, Truthout: “Boeing has just been caught spending $37 dollars for nut and bolt retainers for the Army’s CH-47 helicopter, but charging the Army an average of $381.78, according to a recent Department of Defense’s (DoD) inspector general’s (IG) report. The IG’s office won’t comment on the report because it is ‘For Official Use Only,’ but Bloomberg News got a hold of the report and wrote a story on May 24 about how the DoD IG recommends that Boeing refund the government at least $6 million…. This story could be just another illustration to show that the DoD has not gotten its act together on overpriced spare parts and many of you may be flashbacking to the overpriced toilet seats and coffee brewers of the 1980s and 1990s…. But this recent mess is because of a new experimental way of doing the logistics for weapons that was introduced during the Bush administration. It is called Performance Based Logistics (PBL) and it is just another scheme to push DoD money at contractors and then go hands off and let them make all the decisions”: here.
Cost of Wars a Rising Issue as Obama Weighs Troop Levels: here.
Obama’s Afghanistan speech: An exercise in political duplicity: here. And here.
Obama Leaves Door Open to Long-Term US Afghan Combat. Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service: “President Barack Obama’s speech announcing that the 33,000 ‘surge’ troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by ‘summer’ 2012 indicates that he has given priority to the interests of the military and the Pentagon over concerns by key officials in his administration over the impact of the war’s costs on domestic socioeconomic needs. And in a section of the speech that must be interpreted in the context of his past policy decisions on Iraq, Obama appeared to support the desire of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus to keep a substantial number of combat troops in Afghanistan beyond the publicly announced ‘transition’ in 2014”: here.
Poll: Record Number of Americans Want Troops Out of Afghanistan: here.
IN the light of President Obama’s determination to quit Afghanistan, and his acknowledgement that the US has been talking to the Taleban, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Hague, has had little alternative but to admit – while on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan – that Britain is also talking to the enemy: here.
By Tony Harris in Australia:
The Greens’ attempt to challenge Australia’s Afghan war policy in parliament last year has, by and large, sunk without trace.
In spite of recent polls showing overwhelming public opposition, Australia’s Afghan commitment rolls on, with the recent deaths of more Australian soldiers. And the war continues to claim the lives of Afghan civilians.
For the major “war” parties, and the military, political and media elites who support Australia’s war culture, it has been “as you were” since the parliamentary debate.
For the Greens, the debate reached an inevitable dead-end, based as it was around the limited argument that only parliament should approve foreign troop deployments.
With the major parties supporting the Afghan commitment such a vote would make no difference to the current situation.
While the recent military deaths have seen the Greens national parliamentary leadership renew calls for Australian troop withdrawals, a new, more assertive, strategy is called for.
Jun 23, 3:25 AM EDT
French troops to progressively leave Afghanistan
PARIS (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office has announced the progressive withdrawal of France’s troops from Afghanistan.
Thursday’s announcement says the withdrawal of France’s approximately 4,000 troops will follow a timetable comparable to that of the staggered pullout of American troops, starting this summer.
© 2011 The Associated Press.
Fraud tribunal throws out quarter of Afghan MPs
By JON GAMBRELL Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A special Afghan tribunal overturned nearly 25 percent of last year’s legislative election results Thursday, alleging massive fraud and putting into question who will control the parliament – one of the few checks on President Hamid Karzai.
Lawmakers on the parliament floor shouted about the “illegal” special tribunal and threatened to hold demonstrations against what they saw as a power grab by Karzai.
The panel appointed by Karzai on Thursday threw out results for 62 races in the 249-seat legislative body. Special Court Judge Sidiqullah Haqiq said the panel will reconvene on Saturday, meaning even more results could be overturned.
The packed courtroom in Kabul gasped at times as the five-judge panel detailed some of the fraud it said it had uncovered from the September 2010 election – including one race in Kunduz province in which the tribunal said it counted 20,000 votes for someone marked as receiving zero.
“There was protest and even some killings in the provinces,” Haqiq said.
Election officials discarded 1.3 million ballots from the poll – nearly a quarter of the total – and disqualified 19 winning candidates.
The Supreme Court set up the special tribunal in December after it received more than 400 complaints and lawsuits over the poll, Haqiq said. International advisers consider the re-counts illegal, but the tribunal insists that it has the power to overturn results and even order entire provinces to revote.
During Thursday’s hearings, judges simply declared new winners for the races after offering their new tabulations. Haqiq said their re-counting and investigations were monitored by different groups to ensure fairness.
“There were rumors that a list came from the palace” on who should win, the chief judge said. “I promise you no list came to me.”
While leaving the ethnic and gender makeup of the parliament largely unchanged, the new batch of lawmakers likely will be welcome by Karzai. The president developed an adversarial relationship with the parliament in recent months.
Earlier this month, members launched a protest against Karzai for not naming more than a quarter of his Cabinet or three Supreme Court justices.
Inaugurated in late January, Afghanistan’s parliament faces ongoing questions about who was rightfully elected, undermining the lawmakers’ authority as they try to pass laws and the budget.
It remains unclear what the next step is for the election winners declared by the special tribunal – or whether lawmakers already receiving government perks and bodyguards would cede their position. The tribunal’s announcements likely will face either a legal or political challenge.
Yet those who saw their claimed election win vindicated by the tribunal defended the judges’ decisions.
“I’m very happy, not because of my win,” said Fazil Karim Aymaq, a candidate from Kunduz province. “I’m happy that we are the new children of democracy. We are starting a new democracy in Afghanistan.”
Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report.
Tribunal throws out vote results
AFGHANISTAN: A government tribunal has started scrubbing out results from last year’s parliamentary election amid allegations of massive electoral fraud.
The tribunal was appointed by US-backed President Hamid Karzai and has so far adjusted results from 33 of the country’s 34 provinces and announced 13 new members of parliament.
In one case the tribunal said it had counted 20,000 votes for someone marked as receiving zero in last September’s poll.
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