Haitians dying by the thousands as US escalates military intervention


Haitians dying by the thousands as US escalates military intervention


Bill Van Auken


WSWS, January 22, 2010

Thousands of Haitians are dying every day for lack of medical care and
supplies, according to a leading humanitarian aid group. Meanwhile, the
Pentagon has announced that it is expanding the US military presence in
the country, maintaining Washington’s priority of troops over
humanitarian aid.

The US-based medical aid group Partners in Health has warned that as
many as 20,000 Haitians may be dying daily due to infections such as
gangrene and sepsis that have set in, as the majority of the injured
receive no medical care or are treated in facilities that lack the most
basic supplies.

“Tens of thousands of earthquake victims need emergency surgical care
now!!!,” the organization said in a statement posted on its web site.
“The death toll and the incidence of gangrene and other deadly
infections will continue to rise unless a massive effort is made to
open and staff more operating rooms and to deliver essential equipment
and supplies.”

Partners in Health has worked in Haiti for more than 20 years. Its
co-founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, is the deputy United Nations envoy to
Haiti and a senior professor of public health at Harvard University.

While Haitian officials and other organizations have claimed the
Partners in Health figure is too high, it is indisputable that Haiti
confronts a disaster that could equal or even eclipse that of the quake
itself because of the delays in the provision of health care to
hundreds of thousands of sick and injured people.

The New York Times Thursday quoted Dr. Eduardo de Marchena, a
University of Miami cardiologist overseeing one field hospital in
Haiti, who provided a similarly grim prognosis. “There are still
thousands of patients with major fractures, major wounds, that have not
been treated yet,” he said. “There are people, many people, who are
going to die unless they’re treated.”

As the Times reported, “In the squatter camps now scattered across this
capital, there are still people writhing in pain, their injuries bound
up by relatives but not yet seen by a doctor eight days after the quake
struck. On top of that, the many bodies still in the wreckage increase
the risk of diseases spreading, especially, experts say, if there is
rain.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Port-au-Prince General
Hospital is continuously besieged by more than 1,000 patients waiting
for surgery. “Armed guards in tanks kept out mobs,” the newspaper
reported. It added, “At any given moment, thousands of injured, some
grievously, wait outside virtually any hospital or clinic, pleading for
treatment.”

CNN’s Karl Penhaul reported from Port-au-Prince General Hospital, where
US paratroopers have taken up positions. He said that Haitians
questioned why so many US troops were pouring into the country. “They
say they need more food and water and fewer guys with guns,” he
reported.

He also indicated that American doctors at the hospital seemed
mystified by the military presence. “They say there has never been a
security problem here at the hospital, but there is a problem of
getting supplies in.” He added, “They can get nine helicopters of
troops in, but some of the doctors here say if they can do that, then
why can’t they also bring with them IV fluids and other much needed
supplies.”

The Spanish daily El País quoted one of these American doctors, Jim
Warsinguer: “We lack a lot of things, too many for so much time having
passed since the earthquake: betadine, bandages, gloves. And, above
all, morphine. We have to do amputations without anesthesia. You see
them suffer, and it is terrible. The Haitians are very brave, but they
are suffering a lot.”

The desperate conditions and lack of sanitation for the estimated 2
million Haitians left homeless by the earthquake threaten to trigger a
public health disaster. “The next health risk could include outbreaks
of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections and other diseases among
hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor
or non-existent sanitation,” said Doctors Without Borders deputy
operations manager Greg Elder.

While media reports claim that ever-growing amounts of material aid are
coming into the country, reporters on the ground have said that there
is still no sign that it is getting into the hands of the overwhelming
majority of those who need it.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Thursday, “Correspondents
say the aid that has thus far arrived at the port is being driven for
45 minutes across the city to the airport, where it is piling up and
not being distributed to those who need it.”

The BBC continued, “The US and UN World Food Programme insist the
distribution of food and water is well under way, but the BBC’s Adam
Mynott in Port-au-Prince says many people have still seen no
international relief at all.”

Aid organizations have charged that since establishing its unilateral
control over the Port-au-Prince airport and the city’s port facilities,
and assuming essential governmental powers in Haiti, the US military
has given the beefing up of its presence in the country priority over
the provision of aid. Doctors Without Borders, for example, has
protested that military air traffic controllers have since January 14
refused permission to land to five of its planes carrying 85 tons of
medical supplies.

With the Haitian catastrophe now in its 10th day, it is becoming
increasingly clear that the response of the Obama administration and
the Pentagon, which have made military occupation of the Caribbean
nation its first objective, has deepened the immense suffering of
millions of injured, homeless and hungry people.

The Pentagon has announced that it is sending 4,000 more troops to
Haiti, which will boost the US military occupation force to 16,000. For
the first time, a unit that had been slated for deployment by the US
Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is
being diverted to the Caribbean nation.

Meanwhile, a naval encirclement of Haiti’s coastline is growing. The
Miami Herald reported Thursday that the US military has also prepared a
detention camp at the Guantánamo Bay Navy Base in Cuba—site of the
infamous prison where detainees were tortured—to hold up to 1,000
Haitians should they manage to elude the US warships.

By using Guantánamo as a holding pen for refugees fleeing the horrific
conditions of Haiti, the US government will insist that they have no
legal rights and cannot appeal their deportation back to their
homeland. This same procedure was used in 1991, when thousands of
Haitians fled the country following a violent military coup.

The claim that this military “surge” into Haiti is an indispensable
prerequisite for delivering aid to the Haitian people is a lie. Relief
agencies operating in the country insist that they have not been
threatened by the Haitian people, but rather hindered by the attempt to
impose war zone-style security over their efforts.

The US media never so much as hints that there could be anything but
the sincerest humanitarian motives behind Washington’s assertion of
control over Haiti. It makes no reference to the country’s history,
which includes a two-decade US occupation at the beginning of the
twentieth century, the deployment of US troops twice in the last 20
years, and Washington’s orchestration of a 2004 coup that ousted and
exiled Haiti’s elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In publications reflecting the views of the military-intelligence
apparatus, however, there are franker assessments of Washington’s
objectives and the real mission. The American Enterprise Institute’s
Center for Defense Studies issued a “crisis update” on Haiti, warning:
“Conducting a ‘humanitarian relief’ mission in a poor country stricken
by a natural disaster can quickly embroil the United States in local
politics. And desperate people can easily become violent people.”

The statement continued by affirming, “Beyond delivering relief, US
soldiers and Marines will inevitably find themselves securing the
peace.” Part of this mission, it added, would be “to ensure that
Haiti’s gangs—particularly those loyal to ousted President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide—are suppressed.”

Similarly, William Kristol and Thomas Donnelly, writing in the Weekly
Standard, argued that beyond the humanitarian pretext for intervening
in Haiti, “the strategic case is also compelling.”

“With a transition looming in Cuba and challenges in Central America
among others, there is a political reason to be—and to be seen to be—a
good and strong neighbor.”

In other words, Washington is exploiting the tragedy that has been
inflicted upon the people of Haiti to assert colonial-style control
over the country. Its aim is to reaffirm US imperialist hegemony in the
broader region and to suppress any social revolt by the Haitian masses.

It is only a matter of time before the horrendous death toll caused by
the January 12 earthquake will be augmented by victims shot to death by
US occupation forces.

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The Anatomy Of America’s Defeat In Afghanistan

The Anatomy Of America’s Defeat In Afghanistan

By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
With the long awaited decision by the
Obama Administration in regards to the new strategy for Afghanistan,
the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated to the point that the US
commanders started using the word ‘defeat’ in their report to
Washington. The word defeat has rarely been uttered by military;
however, Afghanistan is the exception, where defeat is a realistic
outcome. There, defeat is a reality that all invaders have faced since
the beginning when Pashtuns have inhabited this region. The Pashtuns’
resistance is one of multiple factors characterizing the Anatomy of
US’s Defeat in Afghanistan, where the inevitability of defeat for the
US and NATO appears to be a certainty.

FACTORS OF DEFEAT


American Military underestimated the Afghans (Pashtuns)

When the American troops landed in
Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, they were confident that the defeat of
the Taliban and take over of Afghanistan was inevitable. Their behavior
was typically American characterized with excessive over confidence
totally oblivious of Afghan history. Characteristically, they did not
expect to suffer significant casualties either; however, much to their
dismay, American causality has become quite apparent The overconfidence
of American military was detailed by a reporter of IWPR:
“in October when the Americans began deploying at the airport, they
were gung-ho, telling their Uzbek counterparts that it would take no
more than a month and a half to defeat the Taleban”[1]

The report continues:
“Uzbek army personnel working at the air base said scores of US
casualties have been arriving there. From November 25 to Decemeber
[sic] 2, an Uzbek orderly working with American medical staff said he
had witnessed the arrival of four to five US helicopters – carrying
between them 10-15 American casualties – each day.”

The wounded soldiers that had returned
from Afghanistan were frustrated by the sudden change in their
self-perceived invincibility. The frustrations of the wounded soldiers
on the base played out in daily occurrences of shouting and
name-callings. These were the same soldiers that had heroic mentality
before entering Afghanistan.

Similar experiences were reported in
other parts of Afghanistan. For example, during operation Anaconda in
2002, America had used massive firepower to subdue a Taliban Commander
Saifu-r-Rahman Mansoor in Shah-e-Kot in Southeastern Afghanistan. The
Americans thought they could destroy the Afghan resistance by having
superior airpower. They learned this to be more a wishful thinking. In
the days of the fighting, Pentagon made various extravagant claims of
having destroyed Mansoor’s defenses and killing more than a thousand
(1000) Taliban fighters. The facts were otherwise. The US forces went
to the battle with a heroic mind set, but they were bitterly surprised
when they sustained heavy losses and had lost 16 helicopters ranging
from apaches to Chinooks. The escalation reached a point of no return
when 22 American Special Forces were caught alive. The heavy losses
coupled with the captured soldiers started to take its toll on the US
forces until March 10, 2002 when General Tommy Frank decided to pull
back 400 troops to Bagram. The official explanation was that the
conflict had ended for the most part while media reported that the
troops suffered from battle fatigue. The truth was that the pull back
was an attempt at building confidence aimed at convincing Taliban that
American military is serious in seeking the release of the 22 Special
Forces Commandos. The Taliban Commander, Maulana Mansoor demanded the
release of all captives held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the 22
Special Forces soldiers.

Meanwhile, as the US forces encountered
stiff resistance, it claimed to be fighting against a force of 1000
fighters when in reality there were 100 Afghan fighters, 120 Uzbek, and
30 Arab fighters. The US claimed to have killed 700 of 1000
Taliban/Al-Qaida fighters:
“U.S. military spokesmen estimate 700 out of roughly 1,000 Islamic
extremists have been killed in the past nine days of fighting, which
has cost the lives of eight Americans and three allied Afghans.”[2]

The number
of Taliban and foreign fighters killed stood at 88 (mostly Uzbek
including 8 Arabs) while the number of US, British and others were much
higher. Different media sources reported different numbers in regards
to US losses. For example, the Russian online newspaper Strana.Ru on
April 8, 2002, reported that the US lost 100 Special Forces and four
Apache helicopters. However, data obtained from the battlefield put the
casualty figure at 228 killed. From this figure 186 Americans killed in
the battle, 22 prisoners executed when the US refused to release
Guantanamo prisoners and 20 British SAS were killed when their vehicles
were ambushed. The 186 killed Americans included those that were
onboard helicopters. The total number of helicopters shot was 16 out of
which two Chinook and 6 Apaches were totally destroyed and the
remaining crash landed. The Canadians and Australians killed were
reported as victims of friendly fire.

This is what happens when armed forces exhibit patronizing mentality and underestimate the enemy.

American Brutality-Excessive Use of Force and Racist View

The sheer use of excessive force
coupled with individual cases of callous murder and torture could be
viewed in the dichotomy of intention and reaction. The aspect of
intentionality points to the way the military views the targeted
population. The US military as an institution and their personnel must
consider the people they bomb or murder perhaps less human, otherwise,
the excessive use of force, committing murder and tortures would not be
wide spread in their ranks. For example, by October 2002, the first
anniversary of US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 10000 tons of
bombs dropped on Afghan soil. (Socialist Worker Online, October 11,
2002) Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such
massacre. While another report by Kate Randall on December 2001, put
the number of US bombed dropped at 12000:

“Since the US launched the war on
Afghanistan October 7, more than 12,000 US bombs have been dropped on
the country. According to the Pentagon, about 60 percent of these bombs
have been precision-guided by satellite or laser technology. However,
many of these bombs-dropped by B-52s and other aircraft from tens of
thousands of feet in the air-have strayed off course, hitting civilian
targets.” (WSWS, December 29, 2001)

In another report, a year after
September 11, 2001, Matt Kelley of the Associated Press put the US
munitions statistics as follows:
“U.S. and coalition airplanes have conducted more than 21,000 flights
over Afghanistan, dropping more than 20,000 munitions. About 60 percent
of the ordnance dropped on Afghanistan has been precision guided, the
highest percentage in any conflict.”

Similarly the Guardian reported on April 10, 2002:
“More than 22,000 weapons – ranging from cruise missiles to heavy
fuel-air bombs – have been dropped on the country over the past six
months. US pilots dropped more than 6,600 joint direct attack munitions
(J-dams), the satellite-guided bombs One in four bombs and missiles
dropped by the US on Afghanistan may have missed its target”
The new generations of hard target weapons whose warheads are made of
uranium have contributed to the heavy contamination of land, water and
general population. The carnage brought upon by the usage of these
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) would remain essentially forever.
Depleted Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years. This means
Afghans would be dying from cancers and other diseases for generations.
For the past several years, the rate of various cancers have risen all
over Afghanistan, however, the rate of this menace has been highest
among the Pashtun people since they are on the receiving end of bombing
raids. Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by
such barbarism.

The individual cases of slaughter are
too many to list. However, I need to point out that American military
shoots first and asks questions later. Many Afghans are shot on mere
suspicion. In many cases, the person would be either going to work or
coming from work.

The most serious of all the behaviors
of the US military is their disregard for the privacy, dignity and
lives of the Pashtun People. The behavior of the US military is similar
to the South African police of the apartheid era entering Black African
and Indian homes with no regard to their privacy. Similarly, American
Soldiers enter Pashtun homes without any regard for their privacy and
dignity. Moreover, they behave like thieves in the way they attack a
residence at night when families are deep asleep. The entrances to
peoples’ houses are blown with explosives and then men and boys are
dragged from bed in full view of their children and wives. More often,
before they could drag anyone from bed, they order their attack dogs to
attack these families before they could leave their bedrooms.
Consequently, many children are bitten to death. In many instances,
after the inhabitants are bitten, the soldiers have shot
indiscriminately. In Laghman Province, a man recalled the following
event:

“At night, the Americans entered our
homes, commandeered their attack dogs and then shot my son and my
brother. I was asleep; when I woke up; a dog was standing next to me
and bit me. Subsequent to that, the dogs pulled the corpse of my
brother and son to the ally. We were terrified and abandoned our
village.”

In another case in Khost, in
mid-December of 2008, the home of Dr. Bilal was raided by the US
forces. The US forces mistaken believed he was linked to Al-Qaida
network while he worked for the province public health department. The
AFP reported the following:

“The Americans entered without warning.
They first killed one of my nephews, Amin, who was 14 years old, who
was sleeping next to a rifle,” says Bilal Hassan, who works for the
provincial department of health.

“My brother went out with a gun. He was shot down, like his wife who followed him,” he says.

A sister-in-law was hit in the spinal cord and paralysed [sic].

“Then they released their dogs,” the
doctor remembers. The dogs attacked the bodies and bit off some of the
fingers, he says. Then they bit the wounded woman and a child of five.
“They took our savings, all our guns, used for self-defence [sic], and
even papers for some of our properties…. Why did they do all that?”[3]

The question is why are Pashtuns
specifically targeted? One of the answers could be the racist mentality
of the American military. However, the most likely explanation is that
Pashtuns are the custodians of Afghanistan and they have defended
Afghan independence throughout history. As long as the Pashtuns remain
a potent force, US-NATO alliance would not only succeed but also face a
realistic prospect of utter defeat.

In all fairness, other militaries
exhibit dreadful behaviors as well. However, the US military appears to
be one of the worst violators among the so-called democratic societies.

American over Reliance on Tajiks and Other Minorities

In the aftermath of 911, the Afghan
Tajiks who were affiliated with the brutal and rapist organization of
Northern Alliance[4] or were supporters of these criminals stepped
forward to the Bush Administration to accomplish two things. First, it
was an opportunity for them to undermine the Pashtun (Afghan) majority
of the country. These Northern Alliance elements were toppled by
Taliban in 1996 after they carried out some of the most gruesome
atrocities ever committed in Afghan history. The Northern Alliance was
formed from war criminals, rapist and human rights violators. Thousands
of women disappeared during the reign of the Northern Alliance. Second,
by offering their services as mercenaries, the Northern Alliance wanted
to take advantage of the situation to control the post-Taliban regime.
Despite the massive air power and indiscriminate usage of wide array of
bombs, the Northern Alliance failed to break through Taliban defenses
situated 90 miles north of the Capital Kabul. After 45 days of bombing,
Taliban decided to retreat to the countryside.

With the Taliban’s retreat, the
Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul. The first task on their agenda
was the firing of most civil servants that spoke Pashto. The imposition
of minorities that constitute roughly 37% of the population on 63%
Pashtun created resentment among the Pashtuns. It is worth mentioning
that the CIA World Facts Book is grossly inaccurate when it comes to
the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Dr Zirakyar has traced the
pattern of false statistics in this book and presented his analysis as
follows:

“Until 1991, this type of “finished
intelligence” registered Pashtuns as majority of the Afghan population
(50% as ethnic group and as language group). Almost a year later in
April 1992, the Northern Alliance (Masood-Rabani group) took over the
power in Kabul. The World Factbook 1992, considerably lowered the
statistical significance of the Pashtun ethnic group and their language
(Pashto): 38% as ethnic group, and 35% as language group. In World
Factbook 2009, statistical data for Pashtuns shows improvement as
ethnic group (42%) but remained the same as language group (35%).”

He established the true number
representing the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan by tapping into
the research of Wak Foundation:

“For the record, a six-year survey and
research project (1991-1996) was conducted by WAK-Foundation for
Afghanistan, the results of which was published in 1998 (1377 A.H.).
According to this source, from the total population of Afghanistan,
Pashtuns make up 62.73 percent as ethnic group and 55 percent as
language group.”[5]
Based on the pattern of falsehood illustrated in the CIA World Facts
Book and consistently presenting false information about the Pashtuns,
it would not be far fetched to state that there is an international
conspiracy against the Pashtuns. That is why; Pashtuns are killed in
Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

In the post US invasion, Pashtuns were
cleansed from many areas in Northern Afghanistan, where majority of the
minority Tajik population is living. Pashtun lands were confiscated,
forcing more than 300,000 Pashtuns to become refugees to neighboring
Pakistan. This group of people formed the backbone of Taliban
insurgency against the US and their mercenaries of the Northern
Alliance.

Incidentally, the Afghan Tajiks and
other minorities were lining up to become translators and falsely
claiming to speak Pashto. These individuals intentionally while others
due to ignorance of Pashto language labeled every Pashtun the Americans
arrested as member of Taliban and Al Qaida. That is why; the youngest
inmate in Guantanamo Bay was 11 years old. The unfair mentality of the
American military and the animosity of the Tajiks and other minorities
toward the Pashtuns resulted in many tragedies. Many innocent Pashtun
men were tortured and killed in Bagram.

The reader might ask as to why Tajiks
have this type of animosity toward the Pashtuns. The answer is Tajiks
were mostly artisans, musicians-entertainers and refugees from Central
Asia ungrateful for the life they had in Afghanistan. Similar to most
minorities in different parts of the world, they also wanted to occupy
the power in the country. However, they desired power at the expense of
Pashtun majority.

Consequently, Pashtuns whether they
agreed with Taliban or not joined Taliban led insurgency to secure
their rights. To this end, both Americans and their mercenaries have
become their targets. Meanwhile, the Afghan National Army (ANA), which
hardly has a national character, is dominated by Tajiks. Majority of
the commanders of the ANA are Tajiks.[6] Equally, the current
President, who is from Kandahar, is more than eager to please these
criminal elements of the Northern Alliance by instituting their
language as the administrative language ignoring Pashto and Pashtuns.
It is speculated that Karzai is half-Pashtun, hence, the influence of
his maternal uncles, who are qazelbash, on him drew him away from his
own language. At this point it is purely speculative; however, Pashtuns
are trying to rationalize the indifference of Karzai by presenting
various explanations.

This unnatural arrangement and
oppression of the Pashtuns inspired Pashtuns to fight against Americans
and their installed regime in Kabul.

Americans Lack of knowledge of the Pashtun Culture

Lack of knowledge of Pashtun culture is
another important factor ensuring US’s defeat in Afghanistan. There are
two sources wherein this lack contributes to the permanence of
hostility of Pashtuns toward the US and her allies. The first issue is
the tribal structure and the cohesion within the tribes in matters of
self-defense. When a member of the tribe or sub-tribe is killed, the
killer is not only the enemy of the family whose member he has killed,
but rather he has gained the enmity of the tribe whose member he has
murdered. Thus, the US forces have turned tribes, sub-tribes and
villages against them by slaughtering their members in the hundreds and
thousands. The second source is a tenet of the Pashtunwali-the Pashtun
Code of Honor. This tenet is that of revenge, which goes hand in hand
with tribal cohesion. A Pashtun father, brother, and son and tribesmen
have to avenge the death of their relative. There is an old saying that
after a Pashtun took his revenge after100 years, he said, “I think I
rushed it.” This points to the permanence of hostility.

Surge or the Final Nails in the Coffin of US’s Defeat

With the hoopla of surge and new
strategy, the US politicians and military leaders lack complete
awareness of the Afghan society, especially the Pashtun culture. To the
Pashtun people surge means continuation of the indignity imposed on
them by the US and her allies. This means more Afghan civilians would
die. This also means the continuation of the same pattern of disregard
to the privacy of Pashtuns’ homes. In essence, Pashtuns view this as
affirmation by the part of the political and military leaders that the
crimes they have committed for the past 8 years are not crimes, but
rather righteousness which adds insult to injury.

Furthermore, this would increase the
resolve of the Afghan insurgency and their supporters. Meanwhile, the
insurgents are working on obtaining modern Russian Rocket Propelled
Grenade launchers. In the past, Afghan Mujahideen used RPG7; however,
RPG7 is not effective against NATO armor. Hence, the most effective
weapon would be RPG32, which penetrates all NATO and US armor vehicles
and tanks. Furthermore, insurgents are also working on obtaining modern
version of SAM7 anti aircraft shoulder-held missiles. This would be the
final nails in the coffin of US’s defeat in Afghanistan.

I have tried in vain to get the
attention of the US political and military leaders with my peace
proposal to institute permanent peace in Afghanistan. But
unfortunately, they showed no interest for the most part. My proposal
‘White Paper for Permanent Peace in Afghanistan’[7] is a comprehensive
approach to a long lasting peace for Afghanistan.
After receiving cold shoulders from political and military leadership,
I came to hypothesize that they must be gaining financial benefits in
the form of contracts or perhaps even kickbacks. Otherwise, it would be
natural to seek peace than war especially when the insurgency has
gained a lot of momentum.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned factors outline a
pattern of hatred and killing. This pattern contributed to the
permanence of hatred and enmity of Americans and their allies. The
violations outlined depict acts of righteousness on the part of the
American forces and points to strong conviction on the part of the
US-NATO forces to continue committing atrocities.
Finally, President Obama’s speech in Norway by referring to the
genocide in Afghanistan as a ‘just war’ is adding insult to injury. The
award of the Nobel Prize to the President of a country that is actively
murdering Afghans and turning their environment uninhabitable with the
continued usage of uranium munitions is a travesty of justice and an
abomination that should be condemned worldwide. Moreover, the award of
the Nobel Prize is affirmation of support on the part of the Western
establishment that the murder and genocide of the Pashtun people is
acceptable, and it strengthens the hypothesis that the war on terror is
in part an international conspiracy against the Pashtun Nation.

[1] Afghanistan: US Casualty Spiral http://www.iwpr.net/?p=rca&s=f&o=162298&apc_state=henirca2001
[2] http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=80079&page=1
[3] Similar events happened one too many times http://www.afghanistannewscenter.com/news/2009/february/feb22009.html#3
[4] Anti-Taliban alliance composed of Afghan minorities
[5] http://www.sabawoon.com/articles/index.php?page=kite_runner
[6] http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KL01Df02.html
[7] http://www.sabawoon.com/articles/index.php?page=home and http://www.rense.com/general88/whitep.htm

Mexican drug gangs worship Saint Death

Mexican drug gangs worship Saint Death
Tony Allen-Mills – Times Online January 10, 2010

She was yet another desolate victim of the endless drug wars ravaging the northern Mexican borderlands, one of more than 2,600 people murdered in Ciudad Juarez last year. When police found her body in a residential area close to the Rio Grande river, there were two distinctive signs that she had been caught up in the bloodsoaked feuding between the rival Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

First, her head had been crudely hacked off — a trademark cartel warning to rivals. Second, her torso bore a distinctive tattoo of a cackling skeleton dressed in suggestive female clothing.

Police recognised it at once as Santa Muerte — best translated as Saint Death, a macabre feminine icon who has replaced the Virgin Mary as an improbable source of unholy comfort to Mexico’s legions of gangsters and hitmen.

“If you revere her and are faithful to her, she might look after you. But she’s a mean saint and beware her vengeance,” said Nacho Puente, a Juarez market vendor. In the past he sold statuettes of Santa Muerte mainly to tourists seeking souvenirs of the Day of the Dead, Mexico’s perversely cheerful funeral festival.

To the dismay of the Catholic church and the disgust of the Mexican government, a bogus saint from popular folklore has become a crucial accessory for junkies, gang members and cartel kingpins alike.

The government has dubbed the skeleton a “narco-saint” and sent troops to destroy the garishly decorated roadside shrines erected in her honour. In drug-related trials or in raids on supposed cartel strongholds, Santa Muerte is repeatedly invoked as an indication of depravity and guilt.

At the trial of Gabriel Cardona, accused of kidnapping and murder on behalf of the Gulf cartel, investigators alleged that he collected his victims’ blood in a glass and drank a toast to Santa Muerte. When police smashed into a house allegedly occupied by a leader of the Sinaloa cartel, they found an entire room turned into a Santa Muerte chapel.

To residents of Ciudad Juarez, the fuss over a cartoon-like figurine who appears more of a grim tart than a grim reaper would be funny were it not so desperate. After two years of spiralling strife, a military surge financed in part by the US has not only failed to reduce the mayhem, but many here believe it has made it worse.

“Our city is dying,” said Jorge Contreras, a factory owner. “A lot of businesses are closing their doors. Our entrepreneurs are leaving for the north [the United States]. Our young are losing their jobs and their only opportunities are crime.”

The new year has brought no respite from the bloodshed that has turned Juarez into what many Texans call “Baghdad on the border”. In the first five days of this year 51 murders were reported.

None was more sinister than the execution of Josefina Reyes Salazar, who was shot in the face in broad daylight last Sunday, a few days after she was warned anonymously that she had 24 hours to leave town.

Reyes was well known as both victim and campaigner against human rights abuses. One of her sons was murdered near her home. Another son, Miguel Angel, was taken away by uniformed soldiers in 2008 and has not been seen since.

“All she wanted was justice for her sons,” said Maricela Ortiz, her friend and fellow activist. “She went on hunger strike to demand information from the government. Her bravery made her a target.”

Like Reyes, Ortiz has been threatened for attempting to speak out about the mysterious disappearances that have multiplied since the military moved into the area. “I’ve had a gun put to my head. There are voices on the telephone, warning. People follow us taking video,” she said, her dark eyes smudged with tears.

“I went to a senior government official and he told me politely that I had nothing to complain about because my daughters hadn’t been kidnapped. He said that he knew the names of my daughters and where they went to school. He told me how dangerous it might be if I continued to complain.”

For Gustavo de la Rosa, a human rights activist who was forced to flee across the Rio Grande to a sanctuary in El Paso, Texas, the common view of Mexico’s violence as a containable civil war between rival cartels is a convenient fiction that masks political connivance, rampant corruption and government impotence.

Most analysts agree that the current conflict began in 2008 as a straightforward turf war when the Sinaloa cartel tired of paying off its Juarez rivals in order to move its drugs through their territory.

Since then, De La Rosa said, the gang warfare has splintered into an anarchic free-for-all that the authorities have failed to control; many in Juarez believe that corrupt officials, both civilian and military, are exploiting the mayhem to silence political critics and to make money for themselves.

“I believe there may now be 500-600 armed bandit groups operating in Juarez,” said Delarosa. “Most have between five and 10 members, some are allied with the cartels, others are working on their own.”

The result has been a catastrophic expansion of criminal activity away from drug smuggling into extortion, kidnapping and theft.

There was a brief lull when President Felipe Calderon, desperate to eradicate a serious embarrassment to Mexico’s image abroad, ordered 8,000 heavily armed troops and federal police into Juarez. But the violence resumed with fresh vigour — and is unlikely to stop soon, according to one of Juarez’s most influential business figures, who began our conversation with a warning: “I’m going to be dead tomorrow if you mention my name.”

The businessman, “Senor B”, recalled the day his premises were surrounded by police cars — a move he attributed to corrupt officers who were allegedly part of an extortion plot.

“I called the mayor and said, Pepe, I feel the heat. He sent the chief of police to see me and the chief made the cars go away. They stopped showing up to threaten me. A week later the chief was killed.”

After that “Senor B” fled to El Paso but never felt comfortable away from his home. So he went back to Juarez and turned his premises into a fortress, with high barbed-wire fences and machinegun-toting security guards on a 24-hour watch.

“Senor B” estimated that until recently 80% of the city’s officials were involved in criminal activity — either in the corrupt diversion of public funds, the awarding of municipal contracts to cronies or in the pay of the cartels. Like most of the city’s intellectual and business elite, he doubts that Juarez can recover without a comprehensive cleansing of the political ranks.

“Think of Palermo [once dominated by the Sicilian mafia], Medellin [resurgent former home to the Colombian cocaine cartels] and New York [formerly a US mafia stronghold],” he said. “There are lots of success stories but we need to see the bad people in jail.

“And I’m not talking about criminals and gangsters. I’m talking about the people we elect to solve this problem who become criminals and gangsters themselves.”

Is Anyone Telling Us The Truth?

Is Anyone Telling Us The Truth?

By Paul Craig Roberts – Information Clearing House January 8, 2010

What are we to make of the failed Underwear Bomber plot, the Toothpaste, Shampoo, and Bottled Water Bomber plot, and the Shoe Bomber plot? These blundering and implausible plots to bring down an airliner seem far removed from al-Qaida’s expertise in pulling off 9/11.

If we are to believe the U.S. government, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged al-Qaida “mastermind” behind 9/11, outwitted the CIA, the NSA, indeed all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as well as those of all U.S. allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times on one morning, and Dick Cheney, and with untrained and inexperienced pilots pulled off skilled piloting feats of crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon, where a battery of state of the art air defenses somehow failed to function.

After such amazing success, al-Qaida would have attracted the best minds in the business, but, instead, it has been reduced to amateur stunts.

The Underwear Bomb plot is being played to the hilt on the TV media and especially on Fox “news.” After reading recently that The Washington Post allowed a lobbyist to write a news story that preached the lobbyist’s interest, I wondered if the manufacturers of full body scanners were behind the heavy coverage of the Underwear Bomber, if not behind the plot itself. In America, everything is for sale. Integrity is gone with the wind.

Recently I read a column by an author who has a “convenience theory” about the Underwear Bomber being a Nigerian allegedly trained by al-Qaida in Yemen. As the U.S. is involved in an undeclared war in Yemen, about which neither the American public nor Congress were informed or consulted, the Underwear Bomb plot provided a convenient excuse for Washington’s new war, regardless of whether it was a real attack or a put-up job.

Once you start to ask yourself about whose agenda is served by events and their news spin, other things come to mind. For example, last July there was a news report that the government in Yemen had disbanded a terrorist cell, which was operating under the supervision of Israeli intelligence services. According to the news report, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Saba news agency that a terrorist cell was arrested and that the case was referred to judicial authorities “for its links with the Israeli intelligence services.”

Could the Underwear Bomber have been one of the Israeli terrorist recruits? Certainly Israel has an interest in keeping the US fully engaged militarily against all potential foes of Israel’s territorial expansion.

The thought brought back memory of my Russian studies at Oxford University where I learned that the Tsar’s secret police set off bombs so that they could blame those whom they wanted to arrest.

I next remembered that Francesco Cossiga, the president of Italy from 1985-1992, revealed the existence of Operation Gladio, a false flag operation under NATO auspices that carried out bombings across Europe in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The bombings were blamed on communists and were used to discredit communist parties in elections.

An Italian parliamentary investigation unearthed the fact that the attacks were overseen by the CIA. Gladio agent Vincenzo Vinciguerra stated in sworn testimony that the attacks targeted innocent civilians, including women and children, in order “to force the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security.”

What a coincidence. That is exactly what 9/11 succeeded in accomplishing in the U.S.

Among the well-meaning and the gullible in the West, the supposition still exists that government represents the public interest. Political parties keep this myth alive by fighting over which party best represents the public’s interest. In truth, government represents private interests, those of the office holders themselves and those of the lobby groups that finance their political campaigns. The public is in the dark as to the real agendas.

The U.S. and its puppet state allies were led to war in the Middle East and Afghanistan entirely on the basis of lies and deception. Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did not exist and were known by the U.S. and British governments not to exist. Forged documents, such as the “yellowcake documents,” were leaked to newspapers in order to create news reporting that would bring the public along with the government’s war agenda.

Now the same thing is happening in regard to the nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program. Forged documents leaked to The Times (London) that indicated Iran was developing a “nuclear trigger” mechanism have been revealed as forgeries.

Who benefits? Clearly, attacking Iran is on the Israeli-U.S. agenda, and someone is creating the “evidence” to support the case, just as the leaked secret “Downing Street Memo” to the British cabinet informed Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government that President Bush had already made the decision to invade Iraq and “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

The willingness of people to believe their rulers and the propaganda ministries that serve the rulers is astonishing. Many Americans believe Iran has a nuclear weapons program despite the unanimous conclusion of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies to the contrary.

Vice President Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives fought hard with limited success to change the CIA’s role from intelligence agency to a political agency that manufactures facts in support of the neoconservative agenda. For the Bush Regime creating “new realities” was more important than knowing the facts.

Recently I read a proposal from a person purporting to favor an independent media that stated that we must save the print media from financial failure with government subsidies. Such a subsidy would complete the subservience of the media to government.

Even in Stalinist Russia, a totalitarian political system where everyone knew that there was no free press, a gullible or intimidated public and Communist Party enabled Joseph Stalin to put the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution on show trial and execute them as capitalist spies.

In the U.S. we are developing our own show trials. Sheikh Mohammed’s will be a big one. As Chris Hedges recently pointed out, once government uses demonized Muslims to get the new justice (sic) system going, the rest of us will be next.

UK: Fury at Vaccine Scandal

Fury at Vaccine Scandal
Lucy Johnstone – Express.co.uk January 10, 2010

Hundreds of public sector workers who claim their lives have been wrecked by vaccines say the Government has abandoned them.

Up to 200 doctors, nurses, firefighters, prison officers, police officers, forensic scientists and binmen say they have developed serious physical and mental health problems after injections essential for their work over the past 10 years. All have given up their jobs and some are now 60 per cent disabled.

Last night it emerged they are to miss out on payouts, prompting furore among campaigners. More than 150 MPs have lent their support to demands for a better deal for the victims.

Olivia Price, of the Vaccine Victim Support Group, said: “These people have given their lives in the service of looking after others and this is how they’re repaid. They’ve lost their careers and are a burden to their families. It is very degrading.”

Frontline health workers, social workers, prison officers and binmen have to be vaccinated against hepatitis B as a condition of their employment.

This is to protect them from contracting potentially fatal conditions from infected blood through needle injuries or physical assaults.

Although they are not legally forced to have the vaccinations, without them they are not allowed to work.

Experts believe the injections caused the health problems, which include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, weakness and cognitive problems, because illnesses developed soon after vaccination. In one case Steve Robinson, a previously fit 43-year-old father of three, was vaccinated six years ago against hepatitis A, B and polio, tetanus and diphtheria as part of his work as a forensic specialist.

Two days later he became ill and developed muscle weakness and chronic fatigue. Mr Robinson, from Morpeth, Northumberland, is now 60 per cent disabled, which an industrial injuries tribunal put down to the vaccinations.

He has also been diagnosed with macrophagic myofascitis, a disabling condition which may be caused by the aluminum in vaccines. He also suffers from problems that cause him to fall with no warning. He said: “Before I had the vaccinations I was very healthy, a keen mountain biker and enjoyed walking and keeping fit.

“Now I have very poor mobility and walk with sticks, I am constantly tired.” In up to 10 of the 200 cases, Government officials have already ruled, on the balance of probabilities, that the vaccines caused the damage.

Campaigners say these victims should be entitled to payouts of up to £120,000 through the Government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, like other people who have suffered side effects, but the hepatitis B vaccine is excluded so they get nothing.

Payouts are restricted to the industrial injuries scheme but this is a long and difficult process and, according to campaigners, results in “paltry” sums. So far, fewer than 10 have successfully claimed this money. Ian Stewart, Labour MP for Eccles, has tabled an Early Day Motion on the scandal which has been backed by more than 150 MPs of all political parties.

He said: “These casualties are completely innocent. Their lives, and those of their families, have been sadly diminished through no fault of their own.

“The difficult truth is that what we have in the UK is not fit for purpose.”

A spokesman for the Payment Scheme, said: “Adults who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines given as a requirement of their employment can claim compensation through Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or private schemes through their terms of employment.”

Airport shut down by incompetent TSA authorities after jars of honey flagged as explosives

At the Bakersfield airport in California, TSA authorities recently shut down the entire airport after finding what they thought was a container of liquid explosives.

Luggage screeners discovered five Gatorade bottles full of an “amber” liquid. TSA agents then opened the bottles and complained they smelled “a strong chemical odor.” They then complained of nausea and were taken to the local hospital for treatment.

According to Reuters, “Kern County Sheriffs deputies, fire crews, FBI agents and members of a joint terrorism task force responded to the scene and spent the day questioning Ramirez before further tests showed that the liquid was honey.”

In other words, Ramirez was interrogated by the FBI for hours while being presumed to be a terrorist. (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS…)

And then it turned out the “explosive amber liquid” was just HONEY.

Apparently, TSA employees are so unbelievably retarded that they don’t even know what honey smells like or looks like. When they smell honey, they mistakenly believe they’re under a chemical attack! And then they engage in all sorts of theater by acting like they’re experiencing nausea so that they can be carted off to the hospital and take the rest of the work day off.

These are the people who are supposed to be protecting America from highly-motivated, highly-intelligent terrorists? Give me a break…

The TSA can’t catch actual terrorists, but it’s really good at flagging innocent people as terrorists and wasting thousands of hours of time (and millions of dollars for the airlines) declaring bogus terrorists emergencies that only serve to inconvenience everyone.

Chemical detection tests are bogus

What the TSA hasn’t yet acknowledged is that their chemical detection tests are complete quackery.

As we’ve reported before, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap will test positive for illegal narcotics. A bar of home-made chocolate got Ron and Nadine from Living Libations arrested (and their child stolen from them by authorities) and accused of trafficking illegal drugs (http://www.naturalnews.com/024304.html).

Honey now apparently tests positive for explosives. Is there any food or liquid substance that truly safe from being declared a bomb by incompetent TSA employees?

It’s fairly obvious at this point that the real mission of the TSA has nothing to do with security. It has everything to do with brainwashing Americans to surrender to police state searches while living in a never-ending state of extreme fear. The TSA, in other words, is just a vehicle by which Americans can be programmed to kow-tow to the herd mentality.

And then they ratchet up the invasions of your privacy one step at a time. First it’s just asking you to throw away your water, then later they ask you to start taking off your shoes and belts. Before long, you’re scanned with a full body scanner that shows you body completely naked — nipples, penises, crotches and all — while TSA agents get off on their power trip.

The images


(The original image we used here from InfoWars has been replaced with this image because the InfoWars image was a mockup “depiction” of the backscatter technology, not an actual image from the TSA.)

The TSA wants you to believe that high levels of detail are not possible with their full-body scanners. But as you can clearly see here, this technology reveals breasts and genitalia. The images they release to the public are intentionally blurred and offered a low resolution in order to create the false impression that TSA agents can’t really see anything. But if they can’t see anything, what good is the technology?

Doubts cast on H1N1 scare

Doubts cast on H1N1 scare

The severity of the H1N1 outbreak was deliberately exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies that stood to make billions of dollars from a worldwide scare, a leading European health expert has claimed.

Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, has accused the makers of vaccines for the virus of influencing the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision to declare a pandemic.

The council, a Strasbourg-based body responsible for the European Court of Human Rights, has decided to investigate Wodarg’s claims in an emergency debate on the issue to be held later this month.

Wodarg said the crisis led to governments around the world ordering and stockpiling millions of doses of anti-flu drugs which were not needed.

‘Inefficient work’

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Wodarg said: “There is a very inefficient work of our agencies. They made a big panic with the bird flu and they made big panic with the swine flu.

“The national governments spent billions of euros to buy their vaccines [for H1N1] so we have to investigate what was behind it, we cannot afford such agencies that spent the money for useless health measures.”

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a media officer for WHO, said: “Providing independent advice to member states is a very important function of WHO, we take this work very seriously and guard against the influence of any vested interests.

“We welcome any legitimate review process that can improve our work.”

In response to Wodarg’s comments, GlaxoSmithKline, one of the makers of H1N1 vaccines, said: “Allegations of undue influence are misguided and unfounded. The WHO declared that H1N1 swine flu met the criteria for a pandemic.

“Responding to it has required unprecedented collaboration. As WHO have stated, legal regulations and numerous safeguards are in place to manage possible conflicts of interest.”

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