This video says about itself:
U.S. Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, 25, was in military service for many years before he came to the conclusion that the wars and occupations in Iraq and in Afghanistan are wrong and found the courage to speak out. Since last summer he has been a key activist in the U.S. veterans’ organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).
From April 1st to 5th , Chiroux and Malalai Joya joined peace activists in Germany and France to speak out against NATO and the war and occupation in Afghanistan.
On April 4th, at a large demonstration in Strasbourg, France, Chiroux planned to publicly apologize to Afghan peace activist Malalai Joya for participating in the occupation of her country; however, before he could do so, the demonstration was disrupted by attacks of the French police. He made his apology instead on April 5, 2009, at the NATO Congress in Strasbourg.
Mental trauma takes huge toll in Afghan war. Hospital facilities are also pitiful — there is just one state-run mental health hospital with 100 beds: here.
France: Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande launched his campaign on Sunday by pledging to cut the banks down to size and pull French troops out of Afghanistan: here.
The day after his first major campaign meeting, Francois Hollande has granted us an exclusive interview in which he gives us his vision of foreign policy. The Socialist candidate confirms that he intends to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan. However, he does not minimize the importance of the transatlantic relationship between France and the United States: here.
Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. of Jacksonville has won a $12.7 million Defense Department contract to provide logistical services for Forward Operating Base Dwyer in Afghanistan.
The services will be “in support of principal end item retrograde/redeployment” at the base, the department said in a news release. The work is expected to be completed in September this year.
Latvia: NATO Chief Discusses Afghan War, Cyber Warfare
January 23, 2012
NATO Secretary General praises Latvia as a committed NATO Ally
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Riga on 20 January 2012 and met with President Andris Berzins, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics and Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks.
During the visit, the Secretary General thanked Latvia for the commitment to defend the Alliance’s values [in] its contribution to the Alliance’s ISAF operation in Afghanistan…[T]he Secretary General said…”Your ports and railways are our lifeline to Afghanistan. And every day, Latvia helps shape our decisions on every aspect of NATO’s work”.
The Secretary General took part in the ceremony at the Freedom Monument and Places of Rememberance in Riga, and laid flowers in memory of the Latvians killed by Soviet security forces during the struggle for the restoration of independence on this day in 1991. “The people of Latvia know that freedom does not come for free. You have fought for your liberty many times over the years. Your nation is a symbol of courage and commitment to the cause of freedom ,” he said.
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Dombrovskis also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Latvia and NATO concerning Cooperation on Cyber Defence.
Jack Idema, convicted of running private Afghan jail, dies at 55
By Associated Press, Published: January 25
Jonathan “Jack” Idema, a former Green Beret from North Carolina who was convicted of running a private jail in Afghanistan where he tortured terrorism suspects, died Jan. 21 in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. He was 55.
The regional director-general of police in Quintana Roo, Arturo Olivares Mendiola, said Mr. Idema died of AIDS. No one had come to claim his body from the medical examiner’s office, Olivares Mendiola said.
Mr. Idema had moved to Mexico at some point after being released from prison in Afghanistan in 2007, when he was pardoned by President Hamid Karzai as part of a general amnesty.
Mr. Idema, a native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., joined the Army in 1975 and was a Special Forces soldier until 1978. He eventually settled in Fayetteville, N.C., and began a long series of bizarre and sometimes criminal misadventures while pursuing the national spotlight.
He was, among other things, a plaintiff in numerous unsuccessful lawsuits, including one against filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, who Idema claimed stole his life story for a movie. He also spent three years in jail in the 1980s after being convicted of fraud.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Idema traveled to Afghanistan, claiming he was close to catching Osama bin Laden. His claims led to his being featured in several books and television programs.
In 2004, he returned to the country along with another former soldier and a freelance videographer. They ran a private jail in which terrorism suspects were tortured for information. Although convicted of the offenses, Mr. Idema denied them in a 2004 interview with the Associated Press.
“Nobody was hung upside down,” he said. “Nobody was burned with cigarette butts. . . . nobody was beaten, nobody was tortured, nobody had boiling water poured on them. Did we interrogate people? Absolutely. Did we keep them up with sleep deprivation? Absolutely.”
The two other Americans were released from prison before Mr. Idema. He claimed that his operation was conceived with the knowledge and support of U.S. and Afghan military authorities, which they denied, saying any connection was entirely in his imagination.
Georgia to Almost Double its Troops in Afghanistan in 2012
18:48 25/01/2012 STRASBOURG, January 25 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia plans to strengthen its almost 1,000-strong peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan by 700 more troops in 2012, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said on Wednesday.
While other nations participating in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan are pulling their troops out of the war-torn country, President Mikheil Saakashvili proposed last year to increase the number of Georgian peacekeepers and the country’s lawmakers approved his move in December.
Addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, Vashadze said Georgia “has solid intentions to continue participating in the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan.”
Georgia, which is actively seeking NATO membership, joined the international U.S.-led coalition fighting the Afghan insurgency in August of 2009.
The Georgian minister added that it is “impossible to grow further without taking security issues into account… and we [Georgia] are constantly working on the issue of joining NATO.”
Georgia currently has around 750 troops in the Helmand Province and 175 in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.
At least ten Georgian soldiers have been killed since joining the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan.
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NATO orders probe of Quran disposal in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. commander of international troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the improper disposal of a large number of Islamic religious materials, including Qurans, at an American air base north of Kabul.
More than 60 Afghans staged a morning demonstration outside the sprawling military installation to protest what they said was the burning of the Muslim holy books.
“We are thoroughly investigating the incident and are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again,” U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “I assure you, I promise you, this was not intentional in any way.”
Allen said he received a report during the night that people working for the military coalition improperly disposed of the religious materials. He did not elaborate.
“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them,” Allen said. “The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities.”
Ahmad Kabir, the chief of Bagram district of Parwan province where the base is located, said the demonstrators were all people who work inside the base and that some claimed they had seen pieces of a Quran that was burned inside the base.
“I haven’t seen it myself and we are talking to them and are investigating to see if is true,” Kabir said. “The protesters are nervous over these claims of the holy book being burned.”
Kabir called for calm.
“We will investigate and we are asking everyone to calm down and relax,” he said, adding that the incident was being probed by local Afghan and police officials and the local provincial council.
Police said a similar protest on Tuesday just east of Kabul ended peacefully.
The Associated Press
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