United States PTSD Afghanistan veteran murders three women

This 9 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

4 dead in Yountville Veterans Home hostage situation

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Veteran shoots healthcare workers to death in California veterans’ home

In [Yountville town in] California, a former soldier has shot three people in a veterans’ home. The perpetrator, a 36-year-old decorated veteran who had been stationed in Afghanistan for a year, then committed suicide. …

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are treated in the home. It is one of the largest centers for veterans in the US. There were about a thousand people, varying from veterans of the recent war in Iraq to former soldiers who fought in the Second World War.

The perpetrator was treated at the center, along with other veterans who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few days before he took people hostage, the man is said to have been expelled from the program, why is not known.

All three people whom this veteran, made mentally ill by the Afghan war, killed were women. Apparently, though he was mentally ill, he did have access to a lethal firearm.


Afghanistan, millions of war crimes

This video says about itself:

7 October 2015

This is footage taken at the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The hospital was the only facility of its kind in the northeastern region of the country. It provided cost-free, high level life- and limb-saving trauma care. In 2014, more than 22,000 patients received care at the hospital and more than 5,900 surgeries were performed. MSF treats all people according to their medical needs and does not make any distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

At the time of the aerial attack on October 3, there were 105 patients and their caretakers in the hospital, alongside more than 80 international and Afghan MSF staff. MSF expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of its staff members and patients who have tragically lost their lives in this attack.

MSF calls for State activation of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to investigate Afghanistan bombing. Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Millions of Afghans seek justice from International Criminal Court

AFGHANS have submitted 1.17 million statements on war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the three months since it began collecting material for possible prosecutions.

The statements contain accusations of criminal conduct by the United States-led Nato invaders, Afghanistan’s Western-backed government, foreign and domestic spy agencies, government-supporting warlords, the Taliban and other jihadist insurgents.

Abdul Wadood Pedram of the Kabul-based Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organisation (HREVO) said the total number of people seeking justice from the ICC could be several million, as one statement might include multiple people and a single organisation might represent thousands of victim statements.

“It is shocking there are so many,” Mr Pedram said, noting that in some instances whole villages were represented.

Many of the representations include statements involving multiple victims, which could be the result of air strikes, assassinations or suicide bombings, he said.

The statements were collected by organisations based in Afghanistan and Europe, but Mr Pedram said that though he had the organisations’ names, they were reluctant to be publicly identified as they feared retaliation.

Mr Pedram himself was forced to flee Kabul briefly last year after receiving death threats.

Several powerful warlords who aided the US invasion in 2001 have been accused of war crimes.

“The warlords are all here. You have to be very careful”, Mr Pedram said.

The New York Times reported in 2013 that, for over a decade, the CIA has delivered suitcases full of cash to Afghanistan’s president each month for him to dish out to warlords.

The ICC can only consider crimes alleged to have been committed after May 2003, when the country ratified the court’s Rome Statute.

While the US has rejected the court’s jurisdiction, its citizens can be charged with crimes committed in countries that are members.

US, British and other Nato forces have been responsible for a long list of war crimes in Afghanistan, including indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, the murder of civilians in deadly night raids by special forces and the killing of other civilians in drone and missile assassinations, as well as routine kidnapping, torture and rape.

In 2015, the US military even bombed a hospital in Kunduz for more than 30 minutes in broad daylight.

Pentagon complicity in Afghan child abuse

This video says about itself:

6 March 2016

In Afghanistan women are forbidden to dance in public. Local men suffer – they want entertainment and sex at any cost. RT talked to “bachas”, boys dressed as women who dance for older men at male-only parties, and “playboys”, the bosses who recruit them. A private party usually ends up with guests bidding for a night with the ‘bacha’ (a ‘boy’ in Farsi).

By Kayla Costa in the USA:

US involvement in enslavement and rape of Afghan children

29 January 2018

A report released Monday revealed the United States’ long-term complicity in widespread sexual violence against Afghan boys. Between 2010 and 2016 alone, there were nearly 6,000 accusations of child sexual abuse reported by American military personnel, with no actions taken in response.

In a practice known as bacha bazi, or “boy play”, high-ranking Afghan elites use boys between the ages of 10 and 18 to entertain them as dancers, dressed in make-up and girls’ clothing. They then hold the boys hostage, raping them and forcing them to engage in other sexual acts over extended periods of time. Once these boys escape their enslavement, they are left with deep psychological, emotional, and social trauma.

The US military has been aware of these abusive practices for years, but has worked to hide them from the public eye in order to proceed with its cooperative relationship with the Afghan police and military.

Completed in June 2017, the report was to remain classified as “Secret//Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals” until 2042. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was well aware that the incidents were in violation of domestic and international human rights law, but the Pentagon continued to funnel billions into their operations through a loophole called the “notwithstanding clause”.

The decision by the Obama administration to commission the report in 2015 only arrived after an article by the New York Times recounted reports from soldiers and commanders in the US military, some of whom had been dismissed for their attempts to intervene in the crimes. Captain Dan Quinn was one of those who left the Special Forces, telling interviewers, “We were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than [what] the Taliban did.”

Despite the number of reports of military personnel being told to ignore the incidents for the sake of privacy or cultural differences, the SIGAR report reiterates that they found “no evidence that U.S. forces were told to ignore human rights abuses.” Instead, it primarily blames the lack of clearly defined procedures in reporting incidents, and the apathy of the Afghanistan government.

While the promises of Afghan leaders to crack down on these child rapists have gone unfulfilled, they do not carry sole responsibility. Gul Agha Shirzai, an Afghan politician who was backed by the CIA, is deeply involved in bacha bazi, and currently works as the minister of border and tribal affairs. In another case, contractors who worked for DynCorp—an aviation, weapons, and law enforcement company that conducts nearly all of its business with the US government—were found to have bought drugs and “dancing boys” with their Afghan policemen in 2010.

Since 2001, the United States has funneled over $70 billion straight into Afghan military and police forces and easily over $1 trillion more broadly. The country has faced great destruction, with at least 175,000 Afghan casualties and millions displaced as refugees. Poppy production and the drug trade now have a huge influence over the national economy, elevating the same government officials, warlords, and elites that participate in child enslavement and rape.

The American military machine also has its own history of sexual violence, against its own forces and civilians. Rape has been used as an act of war against women, children, and prisoners of war throughout every major conflict in the past century. This is no exception for the United States interventions in the Middle East. In one striking example, a Preliminary Examination Report from 2016 documented 82 individual detainees of the CIA who were tortured, abused or raped in Afghanistan and the “black sites” of Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

After a brief hiatus at the start of 2016, the Pentagon has intensified operations in Afghanistan. Civilian casualties are higher today than at any point since the first invasion, caused in part by a 300 percent increase in air strikes and artillery barrages. At least 16,000 US troops are now on the ground, just a fraction of the total forces throughout the Middle East.

Countless photos, videos, and stories of the killing and suffering of children and women have been circulated by the media to justify the wars in the Middle East. Accompanied by crocodile tears, these alleged violations of human rights by those targeted by the US military are seized upon as justification of wars of aggression.

This SIGAR report is just one more confirmation that the “human rights” politics of the US ruling establishment are shot through with hypocrisy and deceit.

The Trump administration is preparing to deploy at least 1,000 more US troops to Afghanistan over the coming months amid mounting signs that the 16-year-old US war and occupation is confronting its gravest crisis since the invasion of October 2001: here.

US is quietly shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Anonymous contractors at a US base said the transfer began last week: here.

Afghanistan third bottom in the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index.Read more: here.

MORE than 10,000 civilians were killed or maimed in armed conflict in Afghanistan last year, the United Nations mission to the country reported today: here.


More Afghan civilians killed, more Afghan refugees deported

More Afghan civilians killed, more Afghan refugees deported

From IRIN:

Europe sends Afghans back to danger

KABUL, 4 January 2018

Ruchi Kumar

In a cafe in Kabul, Mohammad Elham’s eyes dart back and forth between a steaming cup of tea and the front entrance: the months since his return to Afghanistan have been spent in a state of constant fear.

Elham left Afghanistan on a cold night in 2010, he says, after the Taliban killed his wife and two children. Last year, he returned to the country he fled — this time, in handcuffs, one of a surging number of Afghan deportees ousted from Europe.

“It was hurtful and humiliating”, Elham said of his journey from Germany, where his asylum application was rejected, to Afghanistan, where he says his presence may again jeopardise his family’s safety.

As European countries tighten borders and asylum policies, the number of Afghan asylum seekers pushed out of Europe has soared. But returnees like Elham are being forced back to a volatile country, where conflict has uprooted more than one million people over the last two years and civilian casualties are at near-record levels.

With war, a stagnant economy, and chronic instability continuing to drive people out in droves, refugee advocates warn that Afghanistan faces a revolving cycle of migration that will see more Afghans continue to flee even while others are forced back.

Recognition rates drop

Even European countries seen as relatively sympathetic to refugees are now turning their backs on Afghan asylum seekers.

Germany, Sweden and Finland all saw asylum recognition rates for Afghans plummet in 2017. Germany granted asylum to less than half of Afghan applicants during the first nine months of 2017, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles; it had accepted almost three quarters of asylum claims in 2015.

Together, European countries deported almost 10,000 rejected Afghan asylum seekers in 2016 — almost triple the number in the previous year.

At the same time, civilian casualties in Afghanistan have climbed, part of a deepening instability that has seen the resurgent Taliban, a growing so-called Islamic State [ISIS]-aligned militancy, and other armed groups wrestle with the internationally backed government for control of the country. More than 8,000 civilians were killed or injured in conflict through the first nine months of last year, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan.

The bloody conflict has stretched across Afghanistan: from Kabul, where dozens were killed in an attack on a Shia Muslim cultural centre in late December, to provinces like eastern Nangarhar, where a bomb blast at a funeral reportedly killed at least 15 on the eve of 2018.

The scale of the bloodshed hasn’t stopped the rise in European deportations, says Abdul Ghafoor, director of Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organisation, which works with deported asylum seekers in Kabul.

“Why they would decide to send someone back into the danger is beyond understanding,” Ghafoor told IRIN.

A controversial agreement between the European Union and the Afghan government paved the way for the near-unlimited deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers.

Negotiated in 2016, the agreement allows for the EU to put failed asylum seekers, including “non-voluntary returnees”, on flights back to Afghanistan. Rights groups claimed heavily aid-dependent Afghanistan was pressured to sign off on the deal — an arrangement one called “a new low” for the EU.

“No part of the country can be considered safe,” Amnesty International said in an October report, which called on European governments to suspend deportations of Afghan asylum seekers.

European governments have seen the carnage firsthand: in May, a massive truck bomb struck near the German embassy in the heart of Kabul, killing more than 150 civilians.

An international Organization for Migration (IOM) programme helps people who have returned to Afghanistan voluntarily — although rights groups point out that many returnees are faced with little choice. This aid includes linking returnees to family networks, transportation to home provinces and short-term shelter in Kabul. But returning is hard.

“A lot of individuals invest a lot in going to Europe and if it’s a family, the cost is so high that it is likely they have sold and invested everything they have into making that journey,” said Masood Ahmadi, a programme manager with the IOM in Kabul. “Coming back to nothing can be a very difficult thing.”

Meanwhile, there are bigger mass returns of Afghans from neighbouring countries: more than half a million Afghans returned from Pakistan and Iran last year, according to UN agencies.

Combined with the frequent displacement of people already living in the country, Afghanistan finds itself trying to reintegrate massive numbers in the middle of a war.

“Returns have… come to dominate Afghan migration patterns at one of the most insecure and unstable times in its recent history,” the Migration Policy Institute stated in a November report.

But even as deportations and returns surge, many Afghans are still looking for the exits.

Data from the European Union shows that more than 38,000 Afghan citizens made new asylum claims in EU countries in the first 11 months of 2017. And in a recent survey of Afghan returnees from Europe by REACH, which researches humanitarian issues, most respondents said they planned on making another attempt at returning to Europe — as soon as they find the money.

“[European countries] pool in all these resources to send Afghans back”, said Ghafoor. “But in my experience, many of these Afghans leave again, because there is nothing but threats and insecurity for them here.”

Elham, howver, says he’s tired of running from one country to the next.

But there’s little for him in Kabul, where he leads a discreet existence — Elham is not his real name. Few people know he is in Afghanistan, yet he says the Taliban have gotten wind of his return. His family in the provinces recently received a threatening letter.

“I can’t go home. I can’t stay here. I can’t go back,” Elham said. “I really don’t know what to do with myself.”


US suspends security aid to Pakistan as part of Afghan War push: here.


Child, LGBTQ refugees deported to Afghan, Ukrainian war zones

This video from Britain says about itself:

Children Deported to Afghanistan, BBC 2015 Documentary

Deported to Afghanistan. Over the past ten years, thousands of unaccompanied children have fled to the UK from war-torn Afghanistan, but when they turn 18 …

On 21 December 2017, the Dutch parliament voted on some motions about refugees.

First, the motion by Socialist Party (SP) MPs Ms Sadet Karabulut and Mr Jasper van Dijk, against forcibly deporting Afghan children to Afghanistan, where a war is going on. Apart from the SP, some other parties like the Party for the Animals (PvdD) voted for this.

That was unfortunately not enough. A majority voted against. That included the two most xenophobic parties: Geert Wilders‘ PVV and Thierry Baudet‘s FvD. That included also the MPs of the new Dutch four party coalition government, with its just one MP majority: VVD, CDA, D66 and Christian Union. The right-wing VVD and CDA parties are scared of losing votes to PVV and FvD. D66 and Christian Union used to be less anti-refugee than CDA and D66, but now go along with them because of the government coalition.

Then came the motion by Van Ojik and Kuiken of the GroenLinks party, against forcibly deporting LGBTQ refugees to Ukraine, where there is a war as well and violent homophobia, including by people with high level government jobs.

Exactly the same parties (SP, PvdD, etc.) voted for this motion as voted for the Afghanistan motion. Exactly the same parties voted against. One might expect that from the religious fundamentalist Christian Union. But it is somewhat unexpected for D66 who claim they support LGBTQ rights.

Finally, a motion by Van Ojik of the GroenLinks party, to designate refugees from Iraq (also a country at war, dangerous for returning any refugees to) who have converted from Islam to another religion as an especially at risk group, who should have special guarantees against deportation. Again, roughly the same parties voted for and against.

Not completely the same: this time, the fundamentalist protestant SGP party voted in favour, as they favour converting to Christianity.

That the Islamophobic PVV party voted no is not so surprising if one knows that this party basically hates all foreigners, including from mainly Christian countries like Romania and Poland. However, the PVV in the past claimed to love ex-Muslims. There was a committee in the Netherlands calling itself a committee of ex-Muslims. Its most prominent member Ehsan Jami was not an ex-Muslim. His father was atheist, his mother Christian. The other members of that short-lived committee were not ex-Muslims either: a man who had never been a Muslim, and a Muslim woman who wanted to stay Muslim but considered reforms were needed.

Geert Wilders’ Islamophobic party then employed Jami as a parliamentary aide.

As a reaction to the Ehsan Jami committee of ‘ex-Muslims’ who had never been Muslims, another Dutch committee of ex-Muslims was founded. This time by people who had really grown up as Muslims, but later did not consider themselves as such. And who rejected Jami and PVV Islamophobia. That other, real, ex-Muslim committee did a press conference in a Dutch Moroccan mosque; disproving the propaganda by Jami and the PVV that supposedly all Muslims virulently hate and want to kill ex-Muslims.

So, Wilders’ PVV proclaimed their platonic love for ex-Muslims. In practice, they want to deport them to war zones in Iraq.


German deportation of refugees to Afghan war

This 14 December 2016 video is called Germany: Protesters swarm Frankfurt Airport as first round of Afghans deported.

From the World Socialist Web Site in Germany:

Germany: Protests against the deportation of refugees

9 December 2017

Refugees from Afghanistan were herded onto a plane December 6 and flown from the German airport in Frankfurt-Main to Kabul. Several hundred demonstrators had assembled at the airport to protest against people being deported back to a war zone.

The protesters numbering over 800 demanded a right to remain for all. “No border, no nation! Stop deportation!” echoed throughout Terminal 1 of the airport, followed by: “Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here!”

A few hours earlier, the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) declared the government was sticking to its policy of deportations to Afghanistan. The German government has been organising these inhumane deportations for one year. Since December 2016, Germany has deported 128 men to Afghanistan in seven separate actions. Another deportation flight to Pakistan was scheduled for the same day and the government is now even permitting deportations to Syria.

Responsibility for the deportations from Frankfurt lies with the government of the state of Hesse, a coalition of parties which includes the Greens. A large banner with the text: “The Greens in Hesse are deporting” was carried through the airport hall.

Pro-refugee demonstrators in Frankfurt with-anti Green politicians banner

Sarmina Stuman from the Afghan Refugee Movement had issued the appeal for the demonstration. “We have been protesting against these deportations for a year now. Deportation to Afghanistan means deportation to death,” she said, pointing out that even Kabul Airport was bombed recently. “The US Army is increasing its troop numbers, and the German army has been involved in the war for over 15 years.”

Sarmina Stuman

The US alone dropped an average of eleven bombs a day in Afghanistan from January to September this year. “That]s a total of 3,238 bombs in just nine months, not to mention dropping the MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever,” Sarmina said. “Does this sound like a peace mission?” This does not even include the bombs of other armies, nor the “attacks, kidnappings, killings, beheadings, etc., etc…”

At present deportations are limited to alleged “criminal offenders” and “perpetrators” and people who refuse to reveal their identity. Such criminal offences, however, could include riding public transport without a ticket or leaving the region assigned to refugees. “In addition, there are always people on the plane who are guilty of nothing,” declared Sina Mierendorf of Noborder Frankfurt.

To applause, Ramin Mohabat told demonstrators: “The lives of people who have committed crimes are also worth protecting. Why do you have to deport them to Afghanistan? It’s been at war for 16 years.” He reports that an acquaintance of his, who had returned from Europe, was dragged off a bus and beheaded by Taliban fighters on his way from Kabul to Herat because he had no beard and wore western clothes.

Ramin is a journalist and had brought along a great deal of material about the conditions in Afghanistan, but, he said the deportation authorities were not interested. He himself had also received notice of deportation. “All young refugees from Afghanistan are now getting deportation orders,” Ramin said. He was only able to resist his order “through a public campaign.”

The loud demonstration continued to crisscross the airport. Many protesters bore hand-written posters with slogans highlighting the absurdity of the situation, such as, “Afghanistan is safe, and the earth is flat.”

Frankfurt protest sign

Not many travelers responded. One younger man, sitting on several suitcases, looked interested and said, “I’m on your side. The deportations are wrong.” Others were told in English what was taking place.

A number of pilots stopped to observe the demonstration. According to the WDR radio and television station, many pilots have refused to carry out deportation flights. Up until September there were 222 cases of pilots refusing to deport refugees.

The demonstration made a number of stops and short reports were given by young Afghans via microphone confirming what Ramin said: “At the moment, young men seem to be receiving indiscriminate deportation orders.”

Young Afghan demonstrators

An 18-year-old reported that he had been living in Hesse for two years, had found work and taken both language and driving lessons. “Two months ago I received a letter stating my application to stay had been rejected,” he said. His world had collapsed.

Hassan, another speaker, says he was able to first receive schooling in Germany. “It was only here that I got a future. If I am deported to Afghanistan it is a totally foreign country for me.“

Jeremias, a monk representing the Bavarian Refugee Council, grabbed the microphone. The Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann (CSU) has accused the Refugee Council of advising refugees to go underground. On its web site, the Council states that it “strictly rejects deportations to Afghanistan and considers its task to be to warn and advise affected refugees against deportation.”

Jeremias talks about a young man, an Afghan from Bayreuth, who was summoned at nine in the morning to the Central Immigration Office. He was arrested immediately to be deported the same night. He was neither a criminal or a “danger”, He was not even allowed to take with him documents to which he was entitled.

Jeremias also told of a Syrian family that was not deported solely because a Hungarian pilot refused to take them. According to the family, police arrived at dawn, at six o’clock, to pick them up.

All this, Jeremias stated, reminded him of the Third Reich. “What happened to the Jews back then? They were picked up early in the morning.” He did not want to make exaggerated comparisons, but: “It was said back then something like that should never happen again. And yet it is happening again today. Responsibility lies with all the governing parties, including those with Christian in their titles.”

When a handful of Young Socialists (jusos) commenced unrolling the flag of the Social Democratic Party youth organisation, one of the protest organisers approached and asked them, with assenting comments from those around, to roll up their banner because it “belongs to a party that organises the deportations.”

Mareike (left) and fellow pro-refugee demonstrators

Mareike, with family and friends, carried a sign she wrote: “Nobody has the right to obey when it comes to inhumane deportations!” She told us she was participating in a demonstration against deportations for the fourth time.

“It is a shame that people living among us must fear deportation at any time.” She was worried about the growing moves towards militarisation, German army missions abroad, the corrupt EU and government policy in Africa. “I think the violence used abroad always reinforces internal violence. We can not isolate ourselves from that,” she says. “We have a responsibility. Some let refugees freeze to death in misery on the borders and others drown in the Mediterranean. They pay other governments to lock up people and sell them to slave traders. This is our so-called asylum system.”

“No normal person profits from any of this,” Mareike continued. “The only ones who benefit are the security industry and right-wing politicians.” That has to change, she emphasised. She demanded: “We have to dissolve the artificial borders that separate us from other people—whether that refers to nationality or residency status. All people have the same right to a self-determined, dignified life, to education, health and participation in society. Therefore, every deportation is one deportation too many.”

Berlin Senate authorises brutal deportation of refugee family before Christmas: here.


Pentagon keeps killing civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

Iraqi Civilian Describes U.S. Airstrike on His Home That Killed His Wife, Daughter, Brother & Nephew

21 November 2017

Today we spend the hour looking at a damning new report that reveals how U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq have killed far more civilians than officials have acknowledged. An on-the-ground investigation by the New York Times Magazine titled “The Uncounted” found the actual civilian death toll may be 31 times higher than U.S. officials admit. We interview one of the survivors featured in the report. Joining us from Erbil, Iraq, Basim Razzo describes the 2015 U.S. airstrike on his home in Mosul, in which his wife, daughter, brother and nephew were killed. Video of the strike on his home shows a target hit with military precision.

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 November 2017

We spend the hour looking at a damning new report that reveals how U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq have killed far more civilians than officials have acknowledged. The coalition’s own data shows 89 of its more than 14,000 airstrikes in Iraq have resulted in civilian deaths, or about one of every 157 strikes. But their an on-the-ground investigation by The New York Times magazine found civilian deaths in “one out of every five” strikes. We are joined by the two reporters who co-authored this investigation titled “The Uncounted.” Azmat Khan is an investigative journalist and a Future of War fellow at New America and Arizona State University; and Anand Gopal is a reporter and an assistant research professor at Arizona State University. A civilian survivor who lost his family and home to a 2015 U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Basim Razzo, also joins us from Erbil, Iraq.

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 November 2017

In an extended conversation, we speak with reporter Anand Gopal about the U.S. war in Afghanistan, where the U.S. Air Force is on track to triple the number of bombs dropped this year compared with last year. The major increase in bombing comes as the Trump administration has deployed thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in recent months. By early 2018, there are slated to be about 16,000 U.S. troops there. The ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.

In Mosul, Pentagon coalition killed 10 times morecivilians than the 326 they claim: here.