This 22 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:
This 22 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:
This 13 February 2020 video is about a purple gallinule in Brazil.
This video says about itself:
US air raid fuels Afghan anger – 27 Jan 2009
Afghan civilians have rallied against America amid reports that civilians were killed in a US air raid over the weekend.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
A “ceasefire” in Washington’s Afghanistan debacle
22 February 2020
After 18 years of war, the killing of nearly 2,400 troops and the squandering of roughly $1 trillion, Washington is negotiating a deal it could have had with the Taliban without a shot being fired.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday that Washington and the Taliban had reached an agreement to begin a one-week “reduction in violence” in Afghanistan, beginning today as the first step toward the signing of a peace deal at the end of this month in the Qatari capital of Doha.
Such an agreement would ostensibly set the stage for the withdrawal of US troops and the end of what has been the longest war in US history, initiated more than 18 years ago with the illegal October 7, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban is to pledge that it will prevent Al Qaeda elements from operating in the country.
Since that day, nearly 2,400 US troops have lost their lives in the Afghanistan war, nearly 10 times that number have been wounded, and many more are suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being sent into a dirty colonial war. The cost of this “endless war” has reached roughly $1 trillion. At its height, the Pentagon was squandering some $110 billion a year, roughly 50 percent more than the total annual US federal budget for public education.
For the Afghan people, the toll has been far greater. By conservative estimates, over 175,000 have been killed outright by the violence, with hundreds of thousands more wounded, while millions have been forced from their homes.
This carnage has continued right up until the announcement of the partial cease-fire Friday. Virtually every day this month has brought reports of the slaughter of civilians in US airstrikes. Five civilians, one woman and four children, died under US bombs in Badghis province on February 6. On February 7, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission reported three civilians were killed and one wounded in a US strike, all of them university students on their way home from a funeral. On February 8, five civilians died in an airstrike on a vehicle in Farah province. Another eight civilians were killed in a US strike in Nangrahar province on February 14.
Afghanistan’s tragic encounter with US imperialism did not begin in 2001, but dates back more than 40 years to the late 1970s, when the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter and the CIA orchestrated the mujahideen Islamist insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. Their aim, in the words of Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was to give the Soviet Union “their Vietnam”. Of course, it was the Afghans who were the main victims of this covert intervention, dubbed by the CIA as “Operation Cyclone”, which unleashed a protracted civil war whose victims number over one million.
The war ended with the Taliban, a student-based Islamist movement, gaining control over the vast majority of Afghanistan in 1996. And, while Washington never established formal diplomatic relations with its government, it knew that the Taliban’s leadership were men with whom one “could do business”, The Trump administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the current deal, worked in the 1990s for the energy conglomerate Unocal—now part of Chevron—negotiating with the Taliban on a deal for a trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline.
Both before and after September 11, 2001, the Taliban offered to cooperate with Washington in bringing Osama bin Laden to trial. US officials rejected all such overtures, with the CIA doubtless having their own uses for Al Qaeda, which had originated as part of the agency’s mujahideen operation of the 1980s.
The intervention in Afghanistan, planned well in advance of 9/11, was launched not to prosecute a “war on terrorism”, but rather to project US military power into Central and South Asia in pursuit of geo-strategic interests, seizing control of a country bordering on the oil-rich former Soviet republics of the Caspian Basin, as well as China.
The war in pursuit of these aims was a war of aggression, a violation of international law that gave rise to a host of other crimes: massacres, rendition and torture, Guantanamo and CIA “black sites”, as well as the US Patriot Act and a wholesale assault on democratic rights within the US itself.
In the end, this war has proven an unmitigated debacle. If all Washington wanted was a deal with the Taliban to exclude Al Qaeda and similar forces from Afghanistan, it could have gotten that two decades ago without sending a single soldier.
What has the more than $1 trillion spent by Washington on this war, instead of pressing social needs, bought? The government, described by US officials themselves as a “kleptocracy”, controls little of the country and is despised by the majority of its population. The puppet character of this regime is confirmed by its exclusion from the US-Taliban talks.
The results of the last election, held in September with a record-low turnout of less than 25 percent, were just announced this week amid charges of gross fraud. Opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah, installed as “CEO” after the last fraudulent election, has refused to accept the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani’s reelection and has vowed to set up a parallel government, severely complicating proposed intra-Afghan negotiations on “a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan” that are supposed to follow the signing of the US-Taliban deal.
As for the Afghan security forces, while suffering grievous losses, they have proven incapable of resisting the Taliban without intense US air support and American special forces “advisors”. The number of “insider” attacks, in which Afghan soldiers turn their guns on US and NATO trainers, has continued to mount.
After more US dollars (adjusted for inflation) were spent on Afghan reconstruction than were appropriated for the entire Marshall Plan for the recovery of Western Europe after World War II, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries on the planet, with more than half the population living below the official poverty line, the equivalent of a dollar a day.
Whether the deal announced Friday will culminate in an end to the US military presence in Afghanistan is far from certain. A similar agreement that was to be signed at Camp David last September was called off at the last minute by Trump on the pretext that a Taliban attack had claimed the life of a US soldier.
While Trump no doubt hopes to promote any agreement as a fulfillment of his 2016 campaign pledge to end America’s “endless wars”, he announced a complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria last year with the same aim, only to reverse himself and order US Army units to seize control of the country’s oil fields. Moreover, both Democratic and Republican politicians have called for the US to maintain an “anti-terrorism” force on the ground in Afghanistan.
Whatever the final outcome, a US-Taliban agreement will not signal the dawn of peace, either in Afghanistan or internationally. The country will remain an arena of conflict, both between rival warlords and militias, as well as between the two regional powers vying for dominance in Kabul, Pakistan and India. The US, Russia and China will continue pursuing their own conflicting interests in the country, exacerbating internal tensions.
Moreover, the impetus for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan is bound up with the strategic doctrine spelled out by the White House and the Pentagon in which the “war on terror” has been replaced by “great power” conflict as the focus of US military operations. The supposed move to end America’s longest war is bound up with the preparation for what would be the world’s most catastrophic military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China.
It is no coincidence that the announcement of the limited deal with the Taliban came on the same day that the first of 20,000 US troops began arriving in Europe for the largest war games on the continent in a quarter-century, being staged as a rehearsal for a war of aggression against Russia.
The war in Afghanistan, like that waged in Iraq, was based on lies. Among the most important exposures of these lies, told by presidents, Democratic and Republican alike, as well as generals, and echoed by a pliant corporate media, came from the courageous Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Both are today imprisoned, Assange in London, facing extradition to the US to face espionage charges and a possible life sentence, and Manning in Virginia, being held indefinitely without charges for refusing to testify against him.
Those responsible for the criminal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, have never been held to account. That is the task of the working class in the US and internationally, mobilizing its independent strength in struggle against war and the capitalist system that is its source.
The USA Is Determined To Surrender Afghanistan To The Taliban: here.
AFGHANISTAN’S former president Hamid Karzai welcomed a potential peace deal in the country today but criticised the United States for bringing “immense suffering to the Afghan people”: here.
AN Afghan peace deal appears to be in tatters after a US air strike hit Taliban forces in Helmand province today, hours after a phone call between the Islamist guerilla movement and President Donald Trump: here.
U.S. SLASHES $1 BILLION IN AID TO AFGHANISTAN The Trump administration is slashing $1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan. The decision to cut the aid was made on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he made an unannounced, urgent visit to Kabul to meet with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the rival Afghan politicians who have each declared themselves president of the country after disputed elections last year. Pompeo had hoped to break the deadlock but was unable to. [HuffPost]
This 22 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:
WEINSTEIN RECORDED A ROBOCALL FOR BLOOMBERG IN 2005 The downfall of convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has been uncomfortable for many politicians who once socialized with him and took his donations. Weinstein’s reach even extends into the current Democratic presidential race. In 2005, he recorded a robocall to boost Michael Bloomberg’s bid for reelection as mayor of New York. [HuffPost]
This 19 February 2020 video says about itself:
The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse set the stage for a takeover that would be a crucial turning point in the history of terrestrial animal life. If it weren’t for that time when the rainforests collapsed – in an extinction event that you probably haven’t heard of – our ancestors might never have made it out of the swamps.
This 21 February 2020 video says about itself:
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned the attack as a “brutal terrorist crime” at a vigil in Hanau on Thursday.
According to Germany’s Federal Prosecutors Office, there are serious indications of a racist background to the crime, which is supported by videos and documents allegedly made by the suspect.
A gunman opened fire outside one shisha bar in Hanau’s Heumarkt district and drove off to a second location in the Kesselstadt district where he opened fire again, killing a total of nine people and injuring several others late on Wednesday evening.
The attacker was a 43-year-old German citizen from Hanau. Together with his 72-year-old mother, he was found dead at his home in the early hours of Thursday morning.
From the World Socialist Web Site in Germany:
Tens of thousands protest all over Germany against right-wing terror
By our reporters
22 February 2020
On Thursday, tens of thousands of people in over 50 cities took part in spontaneous vigils and demonstrations in memory of the victims of the Hanau attack. In Hanau alone, thousands gathered to express their horror and anger at the right-wing terror. Many deplored the close links between right-wing terrorism and the state apparatus and stressed the significance of right-wing and anti-refugee policies in the attack.
At the Heumarkt in downtown Hanau, where the first four people were shot on Wednesday night, many groups of people stood together until late in the evening. This is where we met Sadveddin and his family.
“This racist attack affects our compatriots and all of us who were born and raised here in Germany,” Sadveddin says. “This is not the first attack. We were immediately reminded of Enver Simsek, the florist killed, and the other victims of the [neo-Nazi] NSU. Now you can see that nothing has been done since then.”
Sadveddin works at BASF in Ludwigshafen and immediately came to Hanau with his whole family to express his solidarity. He reported that shortly before that, the “great politicians” Hesse state Premier Bouffier, federal President Steinmeier and Hanau’s mayor Kaminsky were there. “They didn’t say a word to us, they just laid down their flowers in front of the press and left very quickly.” But he was not surprised. What he found terrible was “that the perpetrator has announced practically everything on Facebook in advance” without anything having been done to prevent the terrorist attack.
Thousands had gathered on the marketplace in Hanau. Hesse state Premier Volker Bouffier and Federal President Steinmeier gave short speeches. There were repeated shouts of “Nazis out!” by the crowd.
Many came from around Hanau, like Julia and Kevin, who are from Nidderau, “to show that racism is not a majority opinion,” as they said. “The political treatment of the Confidential Informants inside the NSU [National Socialist Underground] was already a tragedy,” Kevin remarked, “for far too long it was kept silent. One can no longer tolerate this silence.” A boy reports that he was at the scene of the crime 10 minutes before the bloody crime. “It could have been me.”
“We are deeply sad,” said Zeynap, who came to the vigil with her husband Suleyman from Rodgau. “The attack was aimed specifically at Muslims.” “That’s the AfD [Alternative for Germany] tactic,” Suleyman added. “Hitler also pulled this scam. First, he raised social issues in order to gain popularity, and combined this with racist hate.”
The two criticized the fact the federal government had learned nothing. “When this government came to office, it even cut funding to fight right-wing extremism. We are left alone by the politicians,” he added. “How much longer should we wait? Until racism turns into a giant monster?”
Ali Yaman lives in Hanau and said he knew the victims, “I was born in Hanau.” A friend accompanying him added, “These were our friends and relatives who were murdered here. Young, innocent people have died. It didn’t have to happen.”
“The perpetrator could fire in all directions unhindered for hours,” said Ali Yaman. “He even had a gun license and could get all his equipment on the Internet. The perpetrator was well known! But why wasn’t he being watched?” Young people were still stunned that “these murders could have easily been prevented.”
At the vigil in Stuttgart, many of the hundreds of participants asked critical questions about the perpetrator’s connections to the state apparatus and the responsibility of the establishment parties.
Two demonstrations took place in Berlin. The establishment parties had called a demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate, while various social initiatives organized a rally on Hermannplatz in the Neukölln district, which was much bigger, with thousands of participants.
WSWS reporters spoke to Mohammed and Fatid, who had both fled Syria about five years ago and have recently started studying economics in Frankfurt (Oder). They had heard about the demo by chance on social media and were positively surprised about the mass of people who had come.
“Yes, the right is in the minority, but this is enough to spread such fear. I’ve been in Germany for a good five years and it’s only recently that I really feel like a foreigner,” Fatid said when we approached him. “Such attacks are the natural reaction to the media, which only spread hatred. Especially recently, there has been a lot of talk about Islam.” A situation like today would not have been possible without the years of haggling in the media, both explained.
Rike and Bobby were also outraged about the role of the media in the rise of the right in Germany. Both are studying humanities at the Technical University Berlin. “The media only stir things up. A terrorist attack like yesterday is happening and all you hear is, ‘Yes, but the left-wing extremists.’ Money is earned by stirring people up against each other, while right-wing terrorist networks and crimes are played down.”
“The parties in the Bundestag [federal parliament] also bear responsibility for the rise of the right,” he said, “The major parties are doing nothing. All the parties have moved to the right and are helping to normalize the politics of the AfD.” Rike stressed that while Hanau was the concrete cause for the demonstration today, the actual background was much broader.
Hundreds of people took part in the vigil at the Brandenburg Gate. Pensioner Holger had come spontaneously after hearing about the attack in Hanau. “That simply can’t be!” he said. “It’s mainly the AfD’s fault”. It had made this agitation against foreigners acceptable again, so one should not be surprised that these terrible attacks happened more and more often, he said.
Asked about the latest events in Thuringia, Holger remarked that the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) were also to blame for the fact that the AfD was gaining more and more influence. “You have to fight the right-wing radicals and not let them vote for you”.
In Munich, hundreds of people took part in a vigil on Odeonsplatz.
In Duisburg, around 200 people spontaneously gathered in the city centre. The alliance “Duisburg stands against” had called for a rally against fascist terror.
Sebastian and Markus had arranged to meet at the demonstration. Sebastian supports actions against the right where he can, saying he was shocked by the election of state premier Kemmerich in Thuringia with the effective collaboration of the CDU/FDP and AfD. … “Since I’ve been eligible to vote, I’ve voted for the Left Party; trusting that the Left Party will sit there and make appropriate policies.” This trust is obviously damaged. “I can understand that [former Left Party state premier] Ramelow and the Left Party are moving to the right to get even more votes. But there’s a danger in making deals with the devil.”
Kemal, who took part in the demonstration, also thought that all the Berlin parties shared responsibility for the right wing’s activities. “CDU, FDP and AfD had come to an agreement in the weeks before the demonstration. They share the same politics.” Kemal was particularly outraged that an equivalence was being drawn between “left-wing extremists and right-wing extremists or the left and AfD. Left-wingers and left-wing extremists are not misanthropists and racists.” The former head of the secret service, Maassen, had always used this equation to work together with the right and the AfD, he said.
Kemal thought that large sections of the population had underestimated the right-wing extremists in recent years. “But now, it is becoming open and really threatening—not only for Muslims and people with a migration background; also for German dissidents.” Now one had to stand up against the right-wing danger.
Eva, a student, had learned about the demonstration in Duisburg through Instagram and came spontaneously. She was very upset and worried about the murders in Hanau, that things “could become like our grandparents’ time in Germany.”
She was also very angry that so-called “left-wing extremism” had been denounced as a reaction to the events in Hanau. “Not only from the AfD, but also from the CDU and other moderate parties—and this on a day when nine people were killed in Hanau. I find that simply disgusting.” When she saw on television how Kemmerich had shaken hands with AfD leader Björn Höcke in the Thuringian parliament, she “simply got sick.”
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