Pentagon covers up Afghan war


This 4 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

U.S. Military Cutting Off Information About Afghanistan

Things are going so badly in Afghanistan that the U.S. military has stopped releasing information about the region. Cenk Uygur, Brett Erlich, and Jayar Jackson hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Amid a battlefield stalemate in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has stopped releasing information often cited to measure progress in America’s longest war, calling it of little value in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

The move fits a trend of less information being released about the war in recent years, often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which had previously stopped the U.S. military from disclosing the number of Afghans killed in battle as well as overall attrition within the Afghan army.

The latest clampdown also aligns with President Donald Trump’s complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information …”

Read more here.

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Stop US wars, Afghan-American refugee woman implores


This 28 March 2019 video by United States Congresswoman and Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Why an Afghan American is Crying for Our Future

If you share only one thing about Tulsi with your friends and family, make it this video. Over six minutes, this raw and emotional exchange encapsulates the reason she is running for president.

The video shows an Afghan American woman, distressed by the United States war on her native country and the Trump-Saudi war on Yemen.

Some films from the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2. Kabul, City in the Wind, Midnight Traveler and What We Left Unfinished: The catastrophe of US intervention in Afghanistan: here.

Afghan war ‘hero’ prosecuted for anti-police violence


Marco Kroon, ANP photo

This photo shows Dutch army Major Marco Kroon and his many medals.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Public Prosecution Service will prosecute Marco Kroon for an incident with policemen on Carnival Sunday in Den Bosch. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the holder of the Military William Order has been guilty of indecent exposure, insult and manhandling.

Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the Ministry of Defense decided to suspend Kroon. That means that for the time being he may not do his work and may not wear a uniform, says a spokesperson.

Peeing in public, headbutt

The police saw Kroon pee in public on March 3 and spoke to him about it. He then treated three officers in various ways, unfairly and in a criminal way, says the Public Prosecution Service.

Kroon is said to have shown his genitals to one of the police officers and to have raised his middle finger to another policeman. When he was arrested, he is said to have headbutted a third cop. …

The Defense organization already announced last month that it would not reimburse Kroon’s costs of legal assistance this time. On previous occasions that Kroon came into contact with police, his employer did so.

Marco Kroon received the Military William Order in 2009, the highest bravery award in the country. The medal was awarded for his performance as platoon commander in Afghanistan.

Afterwards Kroon discredited himself several times. In 2011, eg, he was convicted of possessing [illegal] electric shock weapons. The Public Prosecution Service also opened an investigation last year when Kroon announced that he had murdered an Afghan in 2007 and had not reported that to the Defense organization. This did not lead to prosecution because the investigation did not result in confirmation or denial of Kroon’s account.

The incident in Den Bosch has no consequences for Kroon’s Willems-Orde award, says the spokesperson for the Defense department. That may be the case with a conviction of at least a year in prison or with a dishonourable discharge by the Ministry of Defense.

British soldiers practice killing Labour leader Corbyn


This 3 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

DISGRACEFUL: Soldiers in Kabul [Afghanistan] use Jeremy Corbyn image as target practice

Reported by Alistair Bunkall of Sky News on Twitter. Confirmed by Ministry Of Defence.

It looks like the bloody neocolonial war in Afghanistan has a dehumanizing effect on at least some of the people fighting it. Earlier, there were, eg, British soldiers there doing the nazi salute and Australian soldiers flying the nazi swastika flag.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The British Ministry of Defense has started an investigation into a video in which it seems as if British soldiers are using a photo of opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as a target. …

In the video, four British paratroopers can be seen at a shooting range. The images are said to have been made in the Afghan capital Kabul, when is not clear. The images include the caption “Happy with that”. …

Other British politicians have spoken strongly about the video, which is said to have first been broadcast on Snapchat and then posted on Twitter. “Soldiers should not be concerned with politics, but with defending the country”, is one of the responses.

While waging neocolonial war in Afghanistan, thousands of miles away from home, is not exactly ‘defending Britain’.
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The NOS report also mentions that Corbyn last month was violently attacked by a white supremacist who had made death threats against Muslims and politicians when visiting a London mosque.

Dutch government deports refugees to death in Afghanistan


This 22 August 2019 video says about itself:

Greece: Afghan refugees protest deportation, decry Trump’s Afghan strategy

Scores of refugees from Afghanistan rallied outside the Migration Ministry and EU offices in Athens, Tuesday, to protest against migrant deportations. They decried the European Union’s migration policies, with many of the protesters chanting “EU shame on you” and “No borders, no nations, no deportations.”

One of the refugees currently living in the city’s Elaionas camp spoke out as the group submitted to the ministry’s office a list of asylum demands for the refugees. “Afghanistan is not safe. There is no security in Afghanistan. We will continue saying this until our demands are heard. We will not give up this fight,” she said.

Translated from Dutch Nieuwsuur TV, 23 March 2019:

Afghan migration minister asks the Netherlands to stop deportations: ‘Country not safe’

The Afghan Minister of Migration, Alami Balkhi, is asking the Netherlands to stop deporting asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies to Afghanistan. He says this to Nieuwsuur.

“I ask the Netherlands to look at the asylum applications in such a way that Afghans can get asylum. If that fails, I ask them to wait until they return voluntarily or to grant them a temporary residence permit.”

According to the minister, the country is not safe enough for return. “The public domain is unsafe. For example, someone was deported from Sweden who died in a bomb attack. This can happen to anyone else being deported.”

In a response, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security says that Afghans who are being sent back can do so safely.

Yeah, right. Maybe ‘safely’ as long as the airplane has not landed at Kabul airport yet (provided the plane is not a Boeing 737 Max).

“Afghanistan is a graveyard for people like me”

One of the Afghans who was forced to leave the Netherlands lives in the Afghan capital Kabul. Zamir Zarifi was deported to Kabul with his family. “Suicide attacks, shelling, any danger that you can imagine can be found here in Kabul”, he says.

The UN recently stated that the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan has risen to record highs. …

“Do not expel them forcibly. If they are forcibly deported, then they could be recruited by terrorist groups or become unwanted citizens here. Or they will again apply for asylum in the EU. And that only helps smugglers“, [Minister] Balkhi said.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are also critical of the deportations. “The deportation of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan cannot be defended”, Amnesty writes. …

Minister Balkhi believes that his Western colleagues apply a double standard. They declare Kabul is safe in order to deport asylum seekers, but do not leave their own embassies themselves without taking serious security measures.

“When they arrive at the airport in Kabul, they immediately start wearing bulletproof vests and sitting in armoured vehicles. Kabul looks more like a militarized city than an ordinary capital where people live in peace.”

PRO-GOV FORCES KILL MOST AFGHAN CIVILIANS Afghan and international [NATO] forces were responsible for more civilian deaths in the first three months of 2019 than the Taliban and other militants, a new U.N. report said. [AP]

Irish peace activists against US Afghan-killing drones


This 20215 video says about itself:

Fly Kites Not Drones Introduction – What is an armed drone?

This animation from http://www.flykitesnotdrones.org introduces the idea of armed drones and how they effect people in Afghanistan and around the world, to be used in combination with the education pack from Afghan Peace Volunteers, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, Quaker Peace & Social Witness, The Drone Campaign Network and Pax Christi UK.

The USA’s Council on Foreign Relations tally assesses that 500 drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have killed 3,674 people

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Fly kites not drones: anti-war protesters to gather in Galway in protest against US drone attacks

ANTI-WAR protesters are set to gather at Salthill Prom in Galway on Sunday to “fly a kite for peace” in protest against US drone attacks on Afghanistan.

Sunday’s action is the second year the event has taken place and is part of a peace initiative organised by the Fly Kites Not Drones campaign, with similar events held across Europe.

It aims to highlight the devastating impact of military drones in Afghanistan where between 3,952 and 5,353 drone strikes have been confirmed, killing at least 3,923, at least 150 being civilians and 36 children.

Galway County school, Scoil Naisiunta Leitir Meallain, has opened its doors for an educational programme as part of the peace initiative, organising a creative project for children.

Organisers said the project hailed from Afghanistan and its tradition of kite flying.

“The beauty of this Afghani custom, where a kite catches the wind, was used by the “Fly Kites Not Drones” initiative to highlight the contrasting devastation caused by US killer drones.

“Also, the lives of the people holding the string can be very different. In Afghanistan, the perfect blue skies children would use to fly kites are now feared because they are also perfect for armed drones seeking targets.”

Military lawyer jailed for exposing Afghanistan war crimes?


This 2017 video is called Afghan files expose deadly secrets of Australia‘s special forces.

By Mike Head in Australia:

Lawyer charged for exposing Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

11 March 2019

A former Australian military lawyer, once a captain in Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS), has been charged over the alleged leak of documents to journalists containing evidence of war crimes committed in Afghanistan by Australia’s Special Forces.

David McBride, 55, appeared in the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court last Thursday, accused of leaks to Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Fairfax Media reporters during 2014 to 2016.

The charges relate in part to an ABC investigation published in 2017, called “The Afghan Files: Defence leak exposes deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces.” It provided some detail­ about long-suppressed official investigations into alleged war crimes.

Most of the documents, which the ABC did not release, reportedly covered “at least 10” incidents between 2009 and 2013 in which military investigators summarily cleared Special Forces soldiers of killing civilians, including children, or other war crimes.

Among the investigations mentioned were cases relating to the death of a man and his six-year-old child during a raid on his house, and the killing of a detainee who was alone with a soldier.

In 2013, troops commanded by Australian SAS officer Andrew Hastie, now a Liberal Party member of parliament who chairs the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Security and Intelligence, severed the hands of alleged dead Taliban fighters. This followed a training session where soldiers were told such methods could be used for identification purposes.

Some of the atrocities, such as the killing of the captured detainee, were already known. Despite some derisory compensation payments, each incident inflamed popular hostility in Afghanistan to the Australian and other occupying forces. They also underscored the inherently criminal character of the US-led Afghanistan war.

McBride entered no pleas. Instead, speaking to the media outside court, he said he had admitted handing over the documents but would defend his actions on legal grounds.

“I saw something illegally being done by the government and I did something about it,” he said. “I’m seeking to have the case looking purely at whether the government broke the law and whether it was my duty as a lawyer to report that fact.”

McBride suggested a cover-up at the highest levels of the military. He stated: “I have a duty to look after Australia, if that means reporting illegal activity by the top brass of the ADF [Australian Defence Force] I’m going to do it… If I was afraid of going to jail, why would I have been a soldier?”

The ex-ADF lawyer said he first sought an internal inquiry through the defence department and then went to police. When police did not act, he went to the media. He said he gave the documents to the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and journalist Chris Masters, but only the ABC published a report.

The lawyer is charged with theft and three counts of breaching the Defence Act, for being a member of the defence force and communicating information. The charges, if prosecuted on indictment, have maximum penalties of an unlimited fine or imprisonment for any term.

McBride faces a further charge under Criminal Code secrecy provisions, which were expanded and subjected to harsher penalties as part of last year’s “foreign interference” legislation. Imprisonment for up to 10 years can be imposed for an “aggravated” offence of leaking official secrets that allegedly prejudice Australia’s military defence or security.

McBride said he had been living in Spain, but was arrested at Sydney airport last September after a brief visit to his daughter. He is next due in court on May 13.

The government and the military are insisting that McBride’s trial must be conducted in secret, in order to suppress the details of the leaked documents. A Legal Aid representative for McBride told the court that his office was having difficulty finding a lawyer with the necessary security clearance to represent McBride.

McBride’s actions point to concerns within the military-intelligence establishment itself that the abuses committed by the Special Forces in Afghanistan have been so egregious that they have publicly discredited the “elite” units, on which Australian and allied governments rely for military interventions.

After studying at Sydney University and Oxford, McBride joined the British army. He spent six years with the Queen’s household cavalry, and also served with the SAS and in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. In 2002, he stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal Party candidate in a New South Wales (NSW) state election.

The ABC reported that some of the cases were being probed by an inquiry run by NSW Supreme Court judge Paul Brereton, an army reserve major general, which was set up in 2016 by General­ Angus Campbell, who is now Chief of Defence.

The leaked material provided only a partial glimpse of Australia’s war crimes. It was published by the ABC in an effort, accompanied by belated military inquiries, to clean up the reputation of the Special Forces by blaming a minority of “bad apples” supposedly caught up in a “warrior culture”.

In reality, any brutal “culture” in the ADF is an inevitable result of the neo-colonial wars of occupation in the Middle East, which treat the populations as a whole as the enemy and involve the killing of anyone who resists.

Accounts of war crimes committed by Australian Special Forces are not new. Internal investigations, in recent conflicts alone, go back to the Australian military intervention in East Timor in 1999.

The military’s actions have been whitewashed at the highest levels of the ADF, with the full support of successive governments. In May 2013, Stephen Smith, the defence minister in the last Labor government, rejected complaints by Afghan detainees that they were subjected to humiliating public searches of groin and buttocks areas, as well as poor food and cold cells.

Last June, in a damage control operation, the current Liberal-National government belatedly revealed a third closed-door inquiry into alleged war crimes. After a Fairfax Media investigation reported further killings by Australian commandos, the Defence Department announced that earlier last year, military chiefs commissioned David Irvine, a former intelligence chief, to conduct an inquiry.

This “independent assessment” was designed as another official cover-up, seeking to cloak the barbaric character of the US-led occupation of the impoverished country. Such wars necessarily require the recruitment and training of soldiers to become hardened killers.

In addition to Hastie, ex-military commanders are prominent throughout the political and military establishment. Duncan Lewis, the current Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director-general, is a former SAS officer.

Government Senator Jim Molan headed allied military operations in Iraq during 2004-05. A Labor Party MP and ex-minister, Mike Kelly, was a colonel and Director of Army Legal Services, which would have handled complaints against Special Forces members.

Brutal Special Forces operations are part of expanded preparations for use at home, as well. Alongside deployments to neo-colonial wars, the commandos train to suppress social unrest, in the name of combatting terrorism or “domestic violence”.

The author also recommends:

New evidence of more Australian special forces’ war crimes in Afghanistan
[11 June 2018]

After a decade of cover-up by police chiefs and successive governments, a police informer in the Australian state of Victoria, known previously to the public only as “EF,” “informant 3838” or “Lawyer X,” was this month named as Nicola Gobbo, a member of a prominent legal family. Gobbo’s identity further points to the top-level and systemic use of lawyers and others to supply potentially incriminating information to police, regardless of the principle of lawyer-client privilege and other confidentiality rules: here.