Afghan war refugee’s suicide attempt in Greece


This video from Greece says about itself:

18 January 2015

Raw footage: Consisting of 4 different videos taken by inmates of the Immigrant Concentration Camp in Corinth, Greece. They were originally posted on facebook by an Afghani refugee who managed to escape Greece and is now living in Germany.

In chronological order: In the first video, an Afghani inmate has climbed on the roof of a building in the Immigrant Detention Centre in Corinth and is attempting suicide; riot police (Greek MAT: Units of Order Restoration) are called to deal with the event.

In the second video, the other inmates, seeing the riot police and their fellow inmate on the roof, are shouting and trying to get out of the building. Riot police mercilessly beat on whoever manages to gets out and make use of crowd dispersing chemicals. Inmates from the windows are pleading with the riot police to leave so that their fellow inmate doesn’t commit suicide.

The hellish images continue in the third video where the riot police attacks inmates who are peacefully staging a sit-down protest and are refusing to enter the detention building. In the fourth video we see panicked inmates entering the packed building of the Detention Centre while being chased by the riot police and falling on each other.

Images that can’t be described by words and showcase the excruciating and inhuman practices of the Greek authorities against immigrants. The Corinth Immigrant Detention Centre has repeatedly been the ground of suicide attempts by inmates.

Prior to its election victory, Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) had promised to close Greek deportation detention centres and provide more humane treatment for immigrants. But about eight weeks after the government takeover, this has been exposed as an empty promise. Instead, Syriza and its right-wing coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (Anel), are continuing the inhumane immigration policy of the previous government almost seamlessly. Deportation centres continue to exist, despite the minister responsible for migration issues, Anastasia Christodoulopoulou, and the vice minister of the Interior Giannis Panousis promising to release the detained immigrants within a hundred days. Christodoulopoulou also promised the new Greek government would respect all EU guidelines on refugee policy: here.

UN REPORT: AFGHANISTAN CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OVER 10,000 “The number of civilians killed or wounded in fighting in Afghanistan climbed by 22 percent in 2014 to reach the highest level in five years as foreign troops concluded their combat mission, the U.N. said in an annual report released Wednesday. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented 10,548 civilian casualties in 2014, the highest number in a single year since 2009. They include 3,699 civilian deaths, up 25 percent from 2013.” [AP]

U.S.-BACKED AFGHAN MILITIA LEADERS INSPIRE TERROR OF THEIR OWN “He and his neighbors did not fear the Taliban nearly as much as they did their protectors, Rahimullah’s militiamen, who have turned to kidnappings and extortion … Scattered across Afghanistan, men like Rahimullah continue to hold ground and rule villages. They are a significant part of the legacy of the American war here, brought to power amid a Special Operations counterinsurgency strategy that mobilized anti-Taliban militias in areas beyond the grasp of the Afghan Army.” [NYT]

Will ex-CIA boss Petraeus be prosecuted?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Petraeus AffairClassified Information Leak?

13 November 2012

Paula Broadwell, whose reported relationship with former CIA director David Petraeus hastened the end of his career last week, has come under scrutiny for the unusual level of access she appears to have had in the process of writing a biography of the general.

In a speech this summer at the Aspen Institute, Broadwell noted that she regularly had access to classified information in the course of her work in Afghanistan, when she was embedded for about a year in 2010 and 2011.

“I was entrusted with this opportunity to sit in on high level meetings with General Petraeus. Sitting in on SCIF [sensitive compartmented information facility] meetings in the morning, listen to classified chatter of terrorist talk and so forth. And I had that background anyhow, so I knew a lot of that information for my writing, but I knew there was a clear line that I couldn’t cross when I was writing it out,” Broadwell said, according to remarks recounted by Politico.”*

Cenk Uygur breaks down the story. Is it possible Broadwell was privy to information she should have never had access to under normal circumstances? The alleged timing for the beginning and end to the affair seem a little too convenient.

*Read more from Joshua Hersh/ Huffington Post: here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Justice Department considering felony charges against Petraeus

13 January 2015

US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed Sunday that the Justice Department was considering bringing charges against retired General David Petraeus for sharing classified information with his girlfriend and biographer while he was director of the CIA.

Holder refused to answer any substantive questions about the investigation, which was made public Friday night in an article posted on the web site of the New York Times. The newspaper cited FBI and Justice Department prosecutors as the source of its report, noting that the investigation has dragged on since Petraeus resigned from the CIA three days after the November 2012 presidential election.

“The delay has frustrated some Justice Department and FBI officials and investigators who have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Mr. Holder has led a crackdown on government officials who reveal secrets to journalists,” the newspaper wrote.

One of those journalists is a New York Times reporter, James Risen, who last week was permitted to testify at the trial of former State Department official Jeffrey Sterling without revealing the source of his reporting on US cyberwarfare efforts against Iran.

The Times report is itself a shot fired in a murky struggle between factions within the military-intelligence apparatus, where there are deep divisions provoked by the long-term failure of US efforts to conquer and dominate the oil-rich territories of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Petraeus played a leading role in both areas, commanding all US military forces in Iraq in 2006-2007 during the Bush administration “surge” which temporarily consolidated the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad, under Premier Nouri al-Maliki. That regime collapsed last summer after the offensive by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which overran Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and took control of nearly all the Sunni-populated areas of the country. Maliki was forced out under US pressure, replaced by Haider al-Abadi.

In 2010, Petraeus was brought in to replace General Stanley McChrystal as US commander in Afghanistan, who had openly criticized White House policy in that country in an interview with the magazine Rolling Stone. A year later, Petraeus retired from the military upon his appointment as director of the CIA, a position he retained for barely a year.

According to the Times account, the FBI investigation into Petraeus for leaking classified information began when FBI agents found classified documents on the computer of Paula Broadwell, who was writing a biography of the general and had become his lover. The Times said that Petraeus had denied ever providing classified information to Broadwell and had rejected a plea deal.

The investigation has long been known in high-level political, military and media circles in official Washington. However, it went unreported while a subterranean struggle went on over whether to bring felony charges against the most highly publicized military officer of recent decades. Petraeus was hailed by Bush as the savior in Iraq and played a similar role for Obama in Afghanistan.

There was widespread discussion of Petraeus as a possible Republican challenger to Obama in 2012, and his appointment as CIA director in 2011 was at least in part an effort by the Obama White House to forestall such a possibility.

According to a report on Politico.com after the Times article, “Petraeus has retained his security clearance and even has served as an unofficial adviser to the White House on Iraq and Syria while the FBI’s investigation remained open.” The publication also noted that it was an everyday practice to share classified documents with authors selected for their willingness to write favorably of those in power.

“This arrangement is common in Washington for established authors,” Politico wrote. “Sources for Bob Woodward, whose books often disclose classified information that is provided to him through semi-official leaks, are not investigated for betraying state secrets.”

The Times report was followed by bitter ripostes from congressional leaders close to Petraeus. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and his frequent ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, issued a joint statement denouncing the leaking of information about the inquiry into Petraeus. They stopped short of defending him against any charges, claiming they did not know what case might be brought against him.

“At this critical moment in our nation’s security,” they wrote, “Congress and the American people cannot afford to have his voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, opposed bringing any charges against Petraeus during an appearance on the CNN Sunday interview program “State of the Union.” She described Petraeus as “a very brilliant man” who was “the four-star general of our generation,” adding that after losing his position as CIA director “the man has suffered enough.”

Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who has replaced Feinstein as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told ABC News that there was no basis for prosecuting Petraeus, citing President Obama’s statement when Petraeus resigned in 2012 that the matter was purely personal and that no damage had been done to US national security.

“The statute of the law says it has to reach that for there to be a prosecution,” Burr claimed. Actually, the Obama administration has brought more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all previous US administrations combined, without ever seeking to prove damage to national security.

On the contrary, individuals like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are barred from raising that issue—as, for instance, by arguing that they exposed crimes by the US government, and therefore did a service to the American people. Prosecutions under the Espionage Act are narrowly focused on whether classified information was disclosed without authorization, regardless of the motive.

There are ample reasons to bring criminal charges against Petraeus, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as overseeing the CIA, America’s specialist in murder and provocation, for more than a year. But the current case hardly qualifies as a genuine investigation into his actions—especially as it is being conducted by the administration that commissioned many of his bloodiest crimes.

At the time of Petraeus’s abrupt departure from the CIA in an alleged sex scandal, the WSWS commented, “Petraeus is a deeply reactionary figure, but he has not been brought down because of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. Rather, he has been declared unfit because of perhaps the first reported act that indicates he is human.”

Subsequent commentaries took note of the deep-going conflicts within the security apparatus and the political establishment that had led to his purge, including a reported dispute between Petraeus and White House counterterrorism director John Brennan over control of the drone-missile assassination program. Soon after Petraeus left the CIA, Obama named Brennan to replace him.

The latest stirring of the pot in the Petraeus affair comes only one month after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, an investigation that Petraeus apparently cooperated with during his tenure at the agency (2011-2012), but which was vehemently opposed by Brennan.

READ SOME OF THE EMAILS THAT BROUGHT DOWN DAVID PETRAEUS “In late 2012, Jill Kelley’s talent as a Tampa hostess and her knack for charming men in uniform indirectly triggered one of the most embarrassing national security scandals of the past decade. Among other casualties, the fallout led to the forced resignation of CIA Director David H. Petraeus — a former four-star Army general — and the early retirement of Marine Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.” The Pentagon released a trove of heavily redacted emails between Kelly and top military brass. [WaPo]

A LIFE ON HOLD AS GENERAL PETRAEUS AWAITS TRIAL The former head of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has his own shop at KKR these days, but the impending decision of whether or not the General should be indicted for sharing classified information with his lover continues to hang over his day-to-day actions. [NYT]

Former top general and CIA chief David Petraeus passed classified secret information to his lover, including details of ongoing covert operations and names of undercover agents, and subsequently lied about these actions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday: here.

DAVID PETRAEUS SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS PROBATION, $100,000 FINE The Washington Post details how the former head of the CIA went from “hero to zero.” [Paige Lavender, HuffPost]

Former CIA director and four-star general David Petraeus was given a wrist-slap sentence in federal court Thursday for giving binders of highly-classified information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, in 2011: here.

The revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling. ‘The CIA hierarchy continues to have no interest in accepting responsibility for its deceptions, no matter how horrific the results': here.

Afghan wedding guests killed again


A girl injured in the recent rocket strike on the Afghan wedding party waits in an ambulance to be taken to hospital. Photograph: Watan Yar/EPA

In Afghanistan, wedding guests do not just die from bombs dropped by United States warplanes. Or from drone attacks, like happened also to wedding guests in Yemen.

They die from rockets as well.

From Associated Press:

Afghan police investigate fatal rocket attack on wedding party

At least 28 killed in apparent army strike day before Afghanistan takes full control of security at end of Nato combat operations

Lashkar Gah

Thursday 1 January 2015 10.16 GMT

Afghan police are investigating an apparent army rocket strike on a wedding party that killed at least 28 people, many of them women and children.

Police in southern Helmand province were looking into how soldiers came to fire a rocket at a house where a wedding was being celebrated late on Wednesday, the deputy provincial police chief, Bacha Gull, said.

The rocket appeared to have been fired from an army checkpoint near the house in Sangin district as guests waited for the bride to arrive, he said.

Police were “keeping an eye” on two army checkpoints to determine whether the soldiers manning them were engaged in a firefight with Taliban insurgents at the time or whether they fired the rockets arbitrarily. The strike wounded 51 people.

Gull said the funerals, usually held within 24 hours of a death, had been delayed to enable investigators to determine the cause of the rocket strike.

Sangin, in the poppy-producing Helmand river valley, has been the scene of fighting between government forces and Taliban in the last six months since US forces left.

The international mission to rid Afghanistan of insurgents under the leadership of the US and Nato officially ended on 31 December. Afghanistan takes full responsibility for its own security from Thursday.

Afghan government security forces and affiliated paramilitary units, developed under the US occupation, are engaged in a daily, ongoing campaign of terror against the country’s civilian population, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released this week, “Today We Shall All Die”: here.

SEC. OF DEFENSE NOMINEE SAYS HE’S WILLING TO KEEP TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN “[Ashton Carter] says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen.” [AP]

The killing of three US Pentagon contractors at the hands of a uniformed Afghani Army soldier in Kabul last week casts considerable doubt on President Obama’s recent proclamation that America’s “combat mission in Afghanistan is over”: here.

Despite the official end to US combat operations on December 31, US commandos are intensifying their deadly “counterterrorism” operations in Afghanistan: here.

24 February 2015. Less than two months after President Barack Obama announced an end to US combat operations in Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials have made it clear that these murderous operations are not only continuing, they are escalating, while plans for the withdrawal of American troops are being reconsidered: here.

Innocent Afghan prisoners leave Guantánamo torture camp after twelve years


This video from Channel 4 TV in Britain is called Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

US releases four Guantánamo Bay prisoners to Afghanistan

Martin Pengelly in New York and agencies

Saturday 20 December 2014 17.52 GMT

The US announced on Saturday the release of four more prisoners from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. The four men were repatriated to Afghanistan.

The men, who had been in the camp for more than 10 years, were named as Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir. They had been cleared for transfer for some time and are not considered to represent security risks in Afghanistan, where US troops are still deployed.

A US official told Reuters the men were flown to Kabul overnight, aboard a US military plane, and released to Afghan authorities in the first such transfer since 2009. The official said the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, had requested the transfer.

The release of the men reduces the number of inmates held at Guantánamo to 132, eight of whom are from Afghanistan.

Khan, 51, was sent to Guantánamo 11 years ago “on the flimsiest of allegations”, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. His lawyers said he had been a driver for the Hamid Karzai government.

According to a database compiled by the New York Times and National Public Radio, Gul, 51, was arrested in 2002 and accused of being a Taliban intelligence officer. He said he never worked for the group and that two of his “enemies” had turned him over to US troops.

Ghani, 42, was captured in 2002 as a suspected member of a Taliban-linked faction and was originally accused of “war crimes”. He said someone falsely accused him of carrying out a rocket attack; he was cleared by an inter-agency review.

Zahir, 61, was arrested in 2003 and accused of links to Taliban weapons caches, but he denied any connection and was also cleared for transfer.

A Pentagon statement said the men had been “unanimously approved for transfer” by an inter-agency task force and that the secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, had informed Congress of the decision to release them.

According to the Associated Press, the top US commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, had opposed the release. Officials said Campbell and all military leaders on the ground had now screened the move. The AP also reported that an official involved in the review said most of the terrorism accusations against the men had been discarded.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to close Guantánamo in January 2009.

However, now, almost six lears later, it it is still open, with ill-treatment continuing.

Earlier this month, six inmates were released to Uruguay.

Among the men released to Uruguay was Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian man who is challenging in court the Obama administration’s use of force-feeding at the base.

Want to know the reality of US torture? Ask Shaker Aamer: here.

CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CALLS FOR GUANTANAMO CLOSURE General Martin Dempsey called the prison “a psychological scar on our national values.” [HuffPost]

Prisoners tortured in Guantanamo and Bagram


Protest outside parliament in London, England demanding the release of Shaker Aamer from detention in Guantanamo Bay prison

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

TORTURE & FORCE FEEDING IN G-BAY AND BAGRAM PRISON

GLOBAL youth media company ‘Vice’ on Monday launched a week-long special edition of their website Vice.com about Guantanamo Bay, featuring testimony from clients represented by human rights organisation Reprieve.

The special edition includes first-hand testimony from detainees Shaker Aamer, Emad Hassan and Younous Chekkouri, who have been cleared for release from the prison yet remain detained without charge or trial.

It also includes original essay contributions from Jeremy Paxman, Melvyn Bragg, John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth.

British resident Shaker Aamer has been detained in Guantanamo since 2002 despite having been cleared for release under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

The British government has repeatedly stated that Shaker should be returned as a matter of urgency to his British wife and their four children in London.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond recently dismissed concerns over the abuse faced by Shaker in Guantanamo.

Reprieve has undertaken litigation in the US – on behalf of long-time hunger striking client Abu Wa’el Dhiab – challenging the legality of the methods used to force-feed men in Guantanamo Bay.

Video tapes of Dhiab being manhandled to the force-feeding chair – dubbed ‘torture chair’ by the detainees – and force-fed, have been ordered released by a US federal judge.

Cori Crider, Strategic Director of Reprieve and attorney for the men in Guantanamo, said: ‘Guantanamo is a legal black hole and an affront to justice the world over.

‘This special edition of Vice brings much-needed attention to the plight of those men who remain detained without charge or trial.

‘The US administration is currently trying to stop video tapes of force-feedings being released to public scrutiny as part of its continuing efforts to keep transparency far away from Guantanamo.

‘The US must release these tapes – and the prison from which they came must be closed at once.’

Vice.com article, Growing up, Guantanamo says:

Mohammed el Gharani, a citizen of Chad raised in Saudi Arabia, had just turned 15 when he arrived at Guantánamo Bay in February 2002, shepherded off a military cargo plane wearing shackles and blackout goggles.

‘He weighed 126 pounds, was too young to shave, and for months didn’t know where he was. “Some brothers said Europe,” he later recalled in an interview with the London Review of Books.

‘Others thought the unsparing winter sun suggested Brazil. When an interrogator finally told him he was in Cuba, Mohammed didn’t recognise the name. “An island in the middle of the ocean,” the interrogator said. “Nobody can run away from here and you’ll be here forever.”

Omar Khadr, born in Toronto, was also shipped to the offshore prison as a juvenile.

‘The 16-year-old made an early impression on the Army chaplain on base, who, walking by his cell, found Omar curled up asleep, arms wrapped tightly around a Disney book with drawings of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. “He definitely seemed out of place,” the chaplain told reporter Michelle Shephard, who wrote about Omar in her book Guantánamo’s Child?

‘Fahd Ghazy, who grew up in a Yemeni farming village, was seized when he was 17. He had recently graduated at the top of his high-school class.

‘One of Guantánamo’s earliest detainees, he was initially housed in the jerrybuilt, open-air cages of Camp X-Ray. Around the time he was transferred to a permanent cellblock, Fahd learned he’d won a university scholarship to study in Yemen’s capitol, Sana’a.

‘Nearly 13 years later, he’s still at the naval base – still without charge.

‘Swept up as juveniles, Mohammed, Omar, and Fahd were among some 15 to 20 detainees whose adolescence and early adulthood unfolded within the desolate confines of the prison camp, marked by isolation, abusive treatment and the chronic stress of indefinite detention.

‘For years, the Pentagon misreported how many children had been seized. “They don’t come with birth certificates,” a Guantánamo public affairs officer told the New York Times in 2005.

‘To this day, the government considers Fahd to be older than he is, explains his lawyer, Omar Farah of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

‘While visiting Fahd’s relatives in rural Yemen last year, Farah confirmed the birth date Fahd has consistently maintained, recorded in his family’s Koran.

‘“Because they’re developing, they’re more vulnerable to being traumatised,” says Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a retired brigadier general and child psychiatrist who’s served as a medical expert in several cases at Guantánamo. “They’re detached from their families, they don’t have schooling, and they’re thrown in with adults in this adversarial climate.”

‘International juvenile justice standards identify child soldiers first and foremost as victims in need of representation and rehabilitation.

‘The first prisoner Xenakis evaluated was Omar – deemed high profile because his father had ties to Osama bin Laden – who’d been accused of lobbing a grenade that killed an American medic during a firefight in Afghanistan.

‘Gravely injured in the confrontation, Omar was found under a pile of debris with two bullet holes in his back and shrapnel in his eyes.

‘But Omar was air-evaced to Bagram and interrogated almost immediately – pain relief for his injuries withheld during questioning.

‘Years later, in an interrogation room that doubled as an office for doctor-patient interviews, Omar would say to Xenakis, “I’ll tell you what happened in this room.”

‘He described being used as a “human mop”: after painful stress positions caused him to urinate on the floor, he said, military police poured pine oil on his body and dragged him through the liquid.

“These were kids,” says Xenakis. “They’re threatened and harshly interrogated, they’re frightened. I just didn’t think it was consistent with our values as a country.’

‘Dennis Edney, Omar’s longtime civilian lawyer, recalls his client’s bearing during their first meeting in 2004. “I went into one of those cold, windowless cells,” Edney says, “and saw a young boy chained to the floor, trying to keep himself warm. He was blind in one eye, with paralysis in his right arm. He reminded me of a little broken bird. I recall the absolute shock I felt witnessing this lonely, abject figure.”

‘Plagued by procedural snarls and an ever-changing rulebook, Omar’s military commissions case dragged on for years.

‘Had he gone to trial as scheduled in 2010, he would have been the first child soldier to be prosecuted for war crimes since World War II, “a terrible precedent”, according to Human Rights Watch.

‘Instead, after a military judge ruled admissible his statements obtained under torture, Omar pled guilty to all charges, avoiding further entanglement with a system he’d described before the court as “constructed to convict detainees, not find the truth”.

Now 28 and serving an eight-year sentence in Canada, Omar remains close to Xenakis, who provides ongoing support. “He’s going to have some real challenges when he’s out,” Xenakis says. “How does he recover the skills to communicate and socialise outside the prison setting? How does he act in an environment where he can make his own choices? He’s very conscientious and diligent, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up.”

‘According to Polly Rossdale, who directs the Life After Guantánamo project for the human rights group Reprieve, the most ordinary tasks and desires often strike former detainees as insurmountable and unachievable. “When they get out,” she says, “the main things that men call me up about are, ‘How am I going to find a wife?’ Or they want to go to computer class and get computer skills.” Some have been consumed by panic in the shampoo aisle, while others can’t remember how to put on a seatbelt.

The article reveals that an ex-G-Bay prisoner Mohammed, who finally made it out of Chad in 2011, is married now, his second child born earlier this year.

‘He named the baby Shaker, after Shaker Aamer, a mentor and friend still imprisoned at Guantánamo. “Shaker was one of the men who really looked after Mohammed because he was a young boy,” Rossdale explains. “This is his way of saying thank you.’

‘Of the 779 men imprisoned at Guantánamo, roughly 600 were eventually released without charge. Nevertheless, heavy stigma has burdened former detainees looking for work or community acceptance . . .

‘Eighty-seven of Guantánamo’s remaining 148 detainees are from Yemen, 58 of whom have been cleared for transfer . . .’

Poet Hilaire read out a piece for Shaker Aamer in Parliament at a meeting demanding the release of Britain’s last prisoner still held in Guantanamo Bay: here.

President Barack Obama’s half-hearted five-year bid to to close the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba suffered a major setback on Monday. Reactionary senators finalising the annual Defence Policy Bill rejected steps toward shutting the torture camp: here.

Kashmir musk deer not extinct in Afghanistan


This video says about itself:

RARE KASHMIR MUSK DEER SEEN AGAIN ~ FIRST TIME IN 66 YEARS!

2 November 2014

The elusive Kashmir Musk Deer was recently spotted by scientists in Northern Afghanistan, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, for the first time since 1948!

By Richard Farrell:

First Afghan Fanged Deer Seen in More Than 60 Years

Oct 31, 2014 03:20 PM ET

A fanged creature not seen in Afghanistan for more than 60 years has been spotted by a research team in the northeast part of the country.

The Kashmir musk deer was last seen in Afghanistan in 1948. But a team headed up by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports in the October 22 issue of the journal Oryx that it made five sightings in a range of land that included alpine meadows and steep, rocky outcrops.

The sightings featured a solitary male that was spotted three different times in the same area, as well as one female with a juvenile deer and one solitary female. The area where they were seen was scattered with dense bushes of juniper and rhododendron.

Unfortunately, the extremely skittish deer, already difficult to spot, did not remain in place long enough to be photographed, the team said.

The Kashmir musk deer is one of seven similar species in Asia and is considered endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. The deer’s scent glands are a high-ticket black market item — deer musk has been used for ages in perfume, incense, and medical applications — and can be worth more than $20,000 per pound.

The male of the distinctive herbivores has telltale fangs used during mating season as weapons to joust for mates. For deer, they are small and a bit stocky, topping out at barely more than 2 feet tall at the shoulder.

Musk deer are one of Afghanistan’s living treasures,” said Peter Zahler, co-author of the study and WCS deputy director of Asia programs. “This rare species, along with better known wildlife such as snow leopards, are the natural heritage of this struggling nation. We hope that conditions will stabilize soon to allow WCS and local partners to better evaluate conservation needs of this species.”