Political Prisoner Alert — Bradley Manning Trial: An American Hero Gets Court-Martialed On June 3

by Erin Lahman in Politics, PolicyMic

bradley, manning, trial:, an, american, hero, gets, court martialed, on, june, 3,

Bradley Manning Trial An American Hero Gets Court Martialed On June 3

On June 3, the highly anticipated court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in July 2010, will take place. A previous PolicyMic article delivered specific details on the over 700,000 government documents and pieces of classified military information Manning allegedly leaked. According to the article, “Manning is charged with leaking hundreds-of-thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.”

Manning is an American hero who made the decision to leak these classified documents as a service to the general public. He testified, “I believe that if the general public had access to the information, this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general.” He added, “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

In a January 2013 ruling, Military Judge Colonel Denise Lind awarded Manning a 112-day reduction in any eventual sentence due to being subjected to excessively harsh treatment while in military detention. A month later, Judge Lind accepted Bradley Manning’s guilty pleas of 10 lesser charges that he misused classified information, though he denied “aiding the enemy.” A guilty sentence to “aiding the enemy” could languish him military prison for the remainder of his life.

Bradley Manning released the video, “Collateral Murder,” to WikiLeaks and he explained, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.” He went on, “They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.” Continue reading

Afghans “Thanking Bradley Manning”

Author: by Kathy Kelly
Date of Source: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Afghan Peace Volunteers Thanking Bradley Manning

Afghan Peace Volunteers Thanking Bradley Manning

A few evenings ago, as the sky began to darken here in Kabul, Afghanistan, a small group of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APVs),gathered for an informal presentation about WikiLeaks, its chief editor Julian Assange, and its most prominent contributor, Bradley Manning. Basir Bita, a regular visitor to the APV household, began the evening’s discussion noting that June 1st will mark the beginning of Bradley Manning’s fourth year in prison.  Two days later his trial will begin, a trial which could sadly result in his imprisonment for a life sentence. June 1st also begins an international week of support and solidarity, aimed at thanking Bradley Manning [1].

Basir believes that the vast majority of Afghans are among myriads world-wide who have Manning to thank for information they will need in struggles for freedom, security, and peace. He wishes that more people would find the courage to stand up to military and government forces, especially their own, and act as “whistle-blowers.”

I often hear Afghan individuals and groups express longing for a far more democratic process than is allowed them in a country dominated by warlords, the U.S./NATO militaries, and their commanders.  In the U.S., a lack of crucial information increasingly threatens democratic processes. How can people make informed choices if their leaders deliberately withhold crucial information from them?  Manning’s disclosures have brought desperately needed light to the U.S. and to countries around the world, including struggling countries like Afghanistan.

Hakim, who mentors the Afghan Peace Volunteers, recalled that Bradley Manning passed on documents that record 91,730 “Significant Actions,” or “SIGACTS” undertaken here by the U.S. /ISAF forces, of which 75,000 were released by WikiLeaks.

These SIGACTS include attacks by drones, sometimes invisible drones, and night raids. Continue reading

Boston Marathon: The Bomb was of the US-NATO “Cluster Bomb” type, for monstrous effect

The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

By , disinfo.com, April 17, 2013
After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”

Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.

NATO Bombs Hit Hospital, May 1999.  Cluster bombs hit a residential area of Nis.  Nato has confirmed that one of its cluster bombs aimed at an airfield target in the Yugoslav city of Nis may have hit a civilian area



One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market. “The bombs struck next to the hospital complex and near the market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia’s third-largest city with shrapnel,” a dispatch in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 8, 1999.

And: “In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots.”

Pointing out that cluster bombs “explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius,” BBC correspondent John Simpson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare.”

Savage did not preclude usage. As a matter of fact, to Commander in Chief Bill Clinton and the prevailing military minds in Washington, savage was bound up in the positive attributes of cluster bombs. Each one could send up to 60,000 pieces of jagged steel shrapnel into what the weapon’s maker described as “soft targets.”

An unusually diligent reporter, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Timesreported from Pristina, Yugoslavia: “During five weeks of airstrikes, witnesses here say, NATO warplanes have dropped cluster bombs that scatter smaller munitions over wide areas. In military jargon, the smaller munitions are bomblets. Dr. Rade Grbic, a surgeon and director of Pristina’s main hospital, sees proof every day that the almost benign term bomblet masks a tragic impact. Grbic, who saved the lives of two ethnic Albanian boys wounded while other boys played with a cluster bomb found Saturday, said he had never done so many amputations.”

The LA Times article quoted Dr. Grbic: “I have been an orthopedist for 15 years now, working in a crisis region where we often have injuries, but neither I nor my colleagues have ever seen such horrific wounds as those caused by cluster bombs.” He added: “They are wounds that lead to disabilities to a great extent. The limbs are so crushed that the only remaining option is amputation. It’s awful, awful.”

The newspaper account went on: “Pristina’s hospital alone has treated 300 to 400 people wounded by cluster bombs since NATO’s air war began March 24, Grbic said. Roughly half of those victims were civilians, he said. Because that number doesn’t include those killed by cluster bombs and doesn’t account for those wounded in other regions of Yugoslavia, the casualty toll probably is much higher, he said. ‘Most people are victims of the time-activated cluster bombs that explode some time after they fall,’ he said.”

Later, during invasions and initial periods of occupation, the U.S. military dropped cluster bombs in Afghanistan and fired cluster munitions in Iraq. Continue reading

Cheney Marks Tenth Anniversary of Pretending There Was Reason to Invade Iraq

March 19, 2013

dick-cheney-580.jpg

HOUSTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a sombre ceremony attended by former members of the Bush Administration, the former Vice-President Dick Cheney marked the tenth anniversary of making up a reason to invade Iraq.

The ceremony, held on the grounds of the Halliburton Company headquarters, brought together the former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and other key members of the lying effort.

Calling the assembled officials “profiles in fabrication,” Mr. Cheney praised them for their decade of dedication to a totally fictitious rationale.

“Making up a reason to invade a country is the easy part,” Mr. Cheney told them. “Sticking to a pretend story for ten years—that is the stuff of valor.”

Mr. Cheney added that their “steadfast charade had raised the bar for all future Administrations.”

“When it is time to invade Iran or Venezuela, will the President have the will to make up an entirely fake reason to do it?” he asked. “That remains to be seen.”

The ceremony ended on an emotional note, as Mr. Cheney placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown W.M.D.

Former President George W. Bush, who was said to be otherwise engaged, was represented at the event by a nude self-portrait.

Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize

warpeace-jpg_49075_20121003-79[While some of the Nobel Peace Laureates over the years have made genuine and significant contributions to the people's movements against war, in recent years the awards given to such shameful imperialist masters of warmaking as Barack Obama and the European Union have destroyed the legitimacy and credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize.  For all to see, the award has come to be a cynical endorsement of imperial power.  Only a bold endorsement of a very selfless and sacrificial activist against war crimes, who has earned the enmity of imperialists everywhere, may restore the respect for the Nobel Peace Prize.  We do not believe the Nobel Committee has the capability to make such a historic move.  But a growing and passionate number are pressing them to make this move:  Award Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize this year. -- Frontlines ed.]

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By David Swanson

26 March, 2013
Warisacrime.org

Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize , and he should receive it.

manning-saluteNo individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism” than Bradley Manning. The United States is the leading exporter of weapons and itself spends as much preparing for more wars as the rest of the world combined.  Manning is the leading actor in opposition to U.S. warmaking, and therefore militarism around the world.  What he has done has hurt the cause of violence in a number of other nations as well.

And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, Manning is in need of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alfred Nobel’s will left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding, unlike some other peace prize recipients.  In addition, his secret trial — with a potential death sentence — could use all the attention that can be shined on it.

The people of the United States and the rest of the world have learned more about the intentions of the U.S. government from Bradley Manning than from anyone else.  “Thanks to Manning’s alleged disclosures, we have a sense of what transpired in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have an image of how Washington operates in the world,” author Chase Madar wrote in his book about Manning’s whistleblowing.

“Thanks to those revelations we now know just how our government leaned on the Vatican to quell opposition to the Iraq War. We now know how Washington pressured the German government to block the prosecution of CIA agents who kidnapped an innocent man, Khaled El-Masri, while he was on vacation. We know how our State Department lobbied hard to prevent a minimum wage increase in Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest nation.”

Manning revealed a secret U.S. war in Yemen, U.S. records of massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, video of a U.S. helicopter attack on civilians and their rescuers in Baghdad, and facts about the corruption of numerous governments including those of the United States, Tunisia, and Egypt.  In those last two nations Manning’s revelations contributed to nonviolent pro-democracy movements. Continue reading

Bradley Manning’s plea statement: Americans had a right to know ‘true cost of war’

After admitting guilt in 10 of 22 charges, soldier reveals how he came to share classified documents with WikiLeaks and talks of ‘bloodlust’ of US helicopter crew

The Guardian

Fort Meade, Maryland, Thursday 28 February 2013

 

Manning's statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Manning’s statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Bradley Manning, the solider accused of the biggest unauthorised disclosure of state secrets in US history, has admitted for the first time to being the source of the leak, telling a military court that he passed the information to a whistleblowing website because he believed the American people had a right to know the “true costs of war”.

At a pre-trial hearing on a Maryland military base, Manning, 25, who faces spending the rest of his life in military custody, read out a 35-page statement in which he gave an impassioned account of his motives for transmitting classified documents and videos he had obtained while working as an intelligence analyst outside Baghdad.

Sitting at the defence bench in a hushed courtroom, Manning said he was sickened by the apparent “bloodlust” of a helicopter crew involved in an attack on a group in Baghdad that turned out to include Reuters correspondents and children. Continue reading

Afghanistan: False promise of withdrawal, is now long term US troop plan

AFP Photo / Shah Marai
[Obama's election promises notwithstanding, the Afghan troops trained by US and NATO forces cannot be trusted by imperialism to be loyal and effective gendarmes of the post-occupation neo-colonial system.  So, it is now announced, the US will carry on its training and counterinsurgency operations, indefinitely.  -- Frontlines ed.]
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10k US troops to stay in Afghanistan past 2014 deadline

26 November, 2012

Ten thousand US troops will stay in Afghanistan past 2014, senior officials say, despite earlier demands from President Barack Obama to end the war during the second year of his upcoming term.

Most of the 66,000 or so troops currently positioned in Afghanistan will be removed by Pres. Obama’s predetermined deadline, the sources say, but a substantial amount of Americans will be asked to remain indefinitely to conduct training and counterterrorism operations after allied North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops are expunged in late 2014.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gen. John Allen, the top US commander overseeing the war in Afghanistan, proposed that anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 troops remain overseas following the end of the current NATO operation occurring there. A number closer to 10,000 was established after top Obama administration officials reached a compromise with the Pentagon, the paper reports. Continue reading

Afghan Army: “Please Tolerate the US Soldier’s ‘Cultural Insensitivities’ — ‘No Offense’ intended”

October 04, 2012
Turning the Tables in Afghanistan — The Humiliation of Can-Do American Boys
by WILLIAM BLUM

In Afghanistan, the US military has tried training sessions, embedded cultural advisers, recommended reading lists, and even a video game designed to school American troops in local custom. But 11 years into the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural awareness, officials say, contributing to a string of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their military partners. Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal disputes and misunderstandings.

So the Afghan army is trying something new, most likely with American input: a guide to the strange ways of the American soldier. The goal is to convince Afghan troops that when their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, it’s likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge. The pamphlet they’ve produced includes the following advice:

“Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you.”

“When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind. They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you’ve done. Once again, they don’t mean to offend you.”

“When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don’t know or have forgotten the Afghan custom.” (Pointing the soles of one’s shoes at someone is considered a grievous insult in Afghanistan.)

The guide also warns Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their private parts while showering — all inappropriate actions by Afghan standards.

Early in 2012, a video showed US soldiers urinating on dead Taliban fighters

Demonstrators show copies of the Koran allegedly set alight by US soldiers serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan, during a protest at the gate of Bagram airbase on Feb. 21, 2012. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

Hmmm. I wonder if the manual advises telling Afghan soldiers that urinating on dead Afghan bodies, cutting off fingers, and burning the Koran are all nothing more than good ol’ Yankee customs, meaning no offense of course.

And does it point out that no Afghan should be insulted by being tortured in an American military prison since the same is done at home to American prisoners.

Most importantly, the Afghan people must be made to understand that bombing them, invading them, and occupying them for 11 years are all for their own good. It’s called “freedom and democracy”.

I almost feel sorry for the American military in Afghanistan. They’re “can-do” Americans, accustomed to getting their way, habituated to thinking of themselves as the best, expecting the world to share that sentiment, and they’re frustrated as hell, unable to figure out “why they hate us”, why we can’t win them over, why we can’t at least wipe them out. Don’t they want freedom and democracy? … They’re can-do Americans, using good ol’ American know-how and Madison Avenue savvy, sales campaigns, public relations, advertising, selling the US brand, just like they do it back home; employing media experts, psychologists, even anthropologists … and nothing helps. And how can it if the product you’re selling is toxic, inherently, from birth, if you’re ruining your customers’ lives, with no regard for any kind of law or morality, health or environment. They’re can-do Americans, used to playing by the rules — theirs; and they’re frustrated as hell. Continue reading

“The Last War Crime” Debuts At Cannes – But Censored In US.

By Jeanine Molloff, Information Clearing House, July 12, 2012

During this summer of Occupy and subsequent police brutality, the subject of torture is hotly denounced by protesters and conveniently ignored by candidates. Like that ostrich diving head first into the sand of political expediency–Americans want to focus on the alleged debt crisis or gay marriage–anything that absolves us from the messy subject of tortures committed in our names by the Bush/Cheney administration and which continue under Obama to the present day. The entire Bradley Manning debacle speaks volumes to this accusation.

In spite of strong evidence identifying Dick Cheney as the mastermind behind this torture regime–the subject remains taboo, both in the ‘news’ business and in Hollywood–that is until Hollywood executives watched trailers for the anti-war documentary– The Last War Crime.

Written, produced and directed by a new talent known only as ‘The Pen,’ this film documents the torture protocol ordained by the Bush-Cheney administration. Since it first circulated a trailer on the web; it has been heavily censored and cyber attacked. You Tube has removed it at intermittent intervals and MTV (which is owned by Viacom) has refused to sell air time for a commercial.

Apparently, there are some things that Viacom won’t accept money for—namely any film or story which exposes the regular torture ordered by Vice-President Cheney. Curious about this documentary and the blatant censorship–(I couldn’t download it)–I contacted the artist aka The Pen. Here is the interview.

JM : What are you hoping this film will accomplish in terms of genuine political change?

The Pen:” The Last War Crime Movie is about indicting Cheney for torture. And isn’t that something billions of people want to see? They say sometimes life can imitate art. But first we felt it was important that we retrace our country’s steps as to how torture was used to get the false intelligence to sell us on a war with Iraq. The real story of how this happened has been buried under an avalanche of pseudo history. They want people to forget the Downing Street minutes and the foreknowledge that the British had that Cheney and Bush were determined to invade Iraq, even if they had to “fix the facts around the policy” to do so. They want to obliterate the memory of the flimsy legal arguments in the torture memos. So we dig out all the true facts, and put them on the big screen, together with an entertaining narrative story about what it would have been like if justice had already prevailed. Continue reading

When the master feeds them shit, even lapdogs bite the hand that feeds them–eventually

[Imperialists call their neo-colonial project in Afghanistan "nation building" and call their construction of new comprador regimes "humanitarian" and "promoting democracy."  But their callous dismissal of human rights and sovereignty has resulted in thousands of horrifying murders of civilians by the imperialist military occupation forces and puppet Afghan forces.  The puppet military (developed and trained to provide "indigenized" cover for the occupation)  scrambles for credibility, and attempts to distance itself from responsibility for the NATO forces' round after round of mass killings of civilians. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Afghan commanders show new defiance in dealings with Americans

[Afghan Special Forces participate in a night raid training exercise in Kabul. Since the signing of a new cooperation agreement in April, Afghan commanders have been reluctant to go on night raids.]

By , Washington Post, May 11, 2012

KABUL —Afghan commanders have refused more than a dozen times within the past two months to act on U.S. intelligence regarding high-level insurgents, arguing that night-time operations to target the men would result in civilian casualties, Afghan officials say.The defiance highlights the shift underway in Afghanistan as Afghan commanders make use of their newfound power to veto operations proposed by their NATO counterparts.
For much of the past decade, NATO commanders have dictated most aspects of the allied war strategy, with Afghan military officers playing a far more marginal role. But with the signing of an agreement last month, Afghans have now inherited responsibility for so-called night raids — a crucial feature of the war effort.To Afghan leaders, the decisions made by their commanders reflect growing Afghan autonomy from Western forces as NATO draws down, and prove that Afghan forces are willing to exercise more caution than foreign troops when civilian lives are at stake. Continue reading

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan: “On the Kandahar Massacre”

Intensifying and expanding the resistance until the total and unconditional expulsion of the occupiers and the defeat of the puppet regime is the only principled method of confronting the war crimes of the occupying forces

American imperialist occupiers once again butchered children, women, and elderly men in Afghanistan. A group of American occupying soldiers and officers attacked the poor huts of villagers and slaughtered seventeen children, women, and old men––wounding several others and burning twelve bodies––in the Panjawai district of Kandahar on midnight of the 11th of March. The leadership of the occupying forces depicted this unforgivable crime as the result of mental illness of one of their soldiers, offered a mere empty token of apology, and declared the usual: that they would lead an investigation into this matter.

Definitely this war crime, like the other war crimes of the occupiers, is something that does not emanate from the personal mental problems of one or more of the occupying soldiers or officers; it is the result of the overall nature and characteristic of such forces. It should be noted that the imperialist occupation, and the imposition of a puppet regime over the peoples of an occupied country, is itself a great imperialist war crime. Therefore, a just response to the war crimes of the imperialist occupiers and their satraps, is not to legally prosecute the officers and soldiers responsible for these crimes, to take personal revenge against them as individuals, or the unjust efforts of freeing some prisoners, but the further intensification and expansion of resistance, until the total expulsion of the occupiers from the country and the destruction of their puppet regime.

Hamid Karzai the head of the puppet regime, while he is constantly telling the participants and supporters of this regime that soon a “long-term strategic agreement” would be signed with America (an agreement that actually has no other meaning other than prolonging the condition of occupation), has declared the crimes of the occupiers in Panjawai to be a deliberate and obvious act of terrorism and has demanded the trial of the perpetrators. However, it is clear that according to the previous agreements between the American occupation and its puppet regime, and specifically between George W. Bush and Hamid Karzai, that every American soldier and officer in Afghanistan has legal sanctity; they only can be put on trial in the US, according to the constitution of that country. Hamid Karzai while he is carrying “Shah Shojaian Sword” of national treason, at the same time is showing his servitude in empty and meaningless “nationalistic” gestures towards his imperialist masters in order to “prove” his political competency in their court.   Continue reading

Afghanistan: The path from home

Out of Afghanistan: incredible stories of the boys who walked to Europe

The country is so dangerous it’s no wonder so many leave, travelling alone across the Middle East in search of a new life
by Caroline Brothers, The Observer, Sunday 29 January 2012
Behind the security bars of a spartan, white-tiled room, 25 youths are arranging bedrolls on the floor. The workers on the Salvation Army nightshift, who watch over these lone foreign teenagers in a shelter in a gritty corner of Paris, are distributing sheets and sleeping bags; there are a couple of boys from Mali and a contingent of Bangladeshis; the rest have travelled overland, by every conceivable method, from Afghanistan.

The road to peace: 13-year-old Morteza spent five months travelling from Kabul to Paris. His journey took him through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy Photograph: Ed Alcock/MYOP

The youngest are 13 years old, pint-sized cousins from Kabul who arrived that morning after a journey of five months. They take off their trainers and place them at the end of their bedrolls. One of them, Morteza, gingerly peels off his socks. The undersides of his toes are completely white.

I ask what happened to his feet. “Water,” he says. Where was he walking in water? Mohammed, the boy on the next bedroll who knows more English, translates. “In the mountains,” he says. Which mountains, I ask, thinking about the range that forms the border between Turkey and Iran. “Croatia, Slovenia, Italy,” Morteza says. Mohammed intervenes. “Not water,” he clarifies. “Snow.”
Suddenly I understand. Morteza’s feet are not waterlogged or blistered. He has limped across Europe with frostbite.
The next day I run into them watching the older Afghans play football in a park. Morteza’s 13-year-old cousin Sohrab, pale and serious beyond his years, recounts, in English learned during two years of school in Afghanistan, what happened. “Slovenia big problem,” he says, explaining how he and Morteza, “my uncle’s boy”, were travelling with eight adults when they were intercepted by the Slovenian police. Two members of their group were caught and the rest made a detour into the mountains. They spent five days in the snow, navigating by handheld GPS, emerging from the Alps in Trento, in the Italian north.
Morteza acquired frostbite on the penultimate part of a 6,000km journey that detoured through the Balkans: through Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. Their aim is to join their uncle who lives in Europe, the solution their relatives found after Morteza’s father was killed in an explosion. His mother died earlier “in the war”; Sohrab lost his own father when he was 11.

Waiting in hope: boys from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and sub-Saharan Africa line up in the hope of being offered a bed for the night Photograph: Ed Alcock/MYOP

Morteza and Sohrab are among the world’s most vulnerable migrants. Like scores of Afghan teenagers in transit across Europe, they are in flight from violence or the aftershocks of violence that affect children in particularly harsh ways. Those who turn up in Paris have spent up to a year on the road, on the same clandestine routes as adults, but at far greater risk.

No one knows how many unaccompanied Afghan children have made it to Europe. Paris took in just over 300 in 2011 – the biggest nationality among the 1,700 lone foreign minors in its care. Sarah Di Giglio, a child-protection expert with Save the Children in Italy, says that last year the number of Afghan boys – there are almost never girls – passing through a day centre in Rome had doubled from the year before, to 635.
Asylum statistics are another measure, though they give only a rough indication since many children never make a claim. Still, at 4,883, Afghans were the biggest group of separated foreign children requesting asylum in 2010, the majority in Europe.
While some are sent out of Afghanistan for their own safety, others make their own decision to leave. Some are running from brutality, or the politics of their fathers, or recruitment by the Taliban. Others have been pushed onwards by the increasing precariousness of life in Pakistan and Iran, countries that host three million Afghan refugees. Continue reading

Afghanistan: Prisoners on hunger strike, protest cold and poor conditions

600 prisoners on hunger strike in Takhar

December 30, 2011

Hundreds of prisoners on Wednesday went on hunger strike against a delay in investigation of their cases and poor living conditions in the central jail in northern Takhar province.

The jail superintendent, Brig. Gen. Abdul Rab, confirmed 600 inmates had gone on hunger strike. He said they were trying to convince the prisoners into calling off their strike. Continue reading

Afghans hold anti-U.S. rally on eve of war anniversary

Reuters, October 6, 2011

“No to occupation” said another placard, as a U.S. flag was set on fire

By Ahmad Masood & Akram Walizada

Afghans attend a protest in Kabul October 6, 2011. Hundreds of Afghans from the Hmbastagi party (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan) staged a protest to condemn the U.S.-led invasion, which will mark its 10th anniversary on October 7. (Photo: Reuters)An Afghan woman carries a poster of an injured boy reads: ” What if Karzai’s son had the same destiny” during an anti U.S. rally organized by ” Afghanistan Hambastegi” party in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday Oct. 6, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Afghans attend a protest in Kabul October 6, 2011. Hundreds of Afghans from the Hmbastagi party (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan) staged a protest to condemn the U.S.-led invasion, which will mark its 10th anniversary on October 7. (Photo: Reuters)

Hundreds of Afghans marched through Kabul on Thursday, the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, to condemn the United States as occupiers and demand the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops.

About 300 men and women gathered early in the morning with placards and banners accusing the United States of “massacring” civilians while denouncing President Hamid Karzai as a puppet subservient to Washington.

“Occupation – atrocities – brutality,” read one sign, held aloft by two women with scarves covering their head and face.

“No to occupation” said another placard, as a U.S. flag was set on fire. Another banner featured a caricature of Karzai as a glove puppet holding a pen and signing a document entitled “promises to the USA.”

The rally, near a shrine and river in downtown Kabul, lasted around three hours, and ended peacefully.

An Afghan woman carries a poster of an injured boy reads: " What if Karzai's son had the same destiny" during an anti U.S. rally organized by " Afghanistan Hambastegi" party in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday Oct. 6, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Karzai became Afghanistan’s leader in June 2002, seven months after Northern Alliance forces supported by the United States entered Kabul and drove the Taliban regime from power.

Karzai won subsequent elections in 2005 and 2009.

“Ten years since the invasion, all we have seen is suffering, instability and poverty in our country,” said protest organizer Hafizullah Rasikh.

One picture that featured prominently was that of U.S. soldier Andrew Holmes posing with the corpse of an unarmed teenage Afghan villager who he had gunned down. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for the 2010 murder.

This year has seen record levels of civilian casualties and although about 80 percent were caused by insurgents, killings by foreign forces, tend to spark more vocal public anger.

The United States bears the brunt of criticism of the Western presence in Afghanistan.

“The bloodshed I see in this country is the result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. After the invaders leave, our country will be peaceful,” shouted one man on a loudspeaker.

(Reporting by Akram Walizada and Mohammad Aziz; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison and Sugita Katyal)

Statement of Maoists of Afghanistan: “Forward towards Initiating and Carrying Forward the People’s Revolutionary War of National Resistance!”

[Afghan Maoists' analysis of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and what has changed.-- Frontlines ed.]

Statement of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistanon Osama bin Laden’s death:  Forward towards Initiating and Carrying Forward the People’s Revolutionary War of National Resistance!

The actual pretext for America and its allies’ imperialist military onslaught to invade and occupy Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 was to kill or arrest Osama bin Laden, who was suspected as the real mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. During the past ten years of the war of aggression, and the presence of the occupying forces in Afghanistan that have continued under this pretext or others, tens of thousands of people have lost their lives and thousands of the poor huts of the wretched villagers have been destroyed.
But finally it became clear that bin Laden was not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan, close to this country’s capital, Islamabad, and beside the country’s biggest military training center––a training center for a military that is a vassal of the American imperialists and their allies. Apparently, a small group of 14 American special forces with three helicopters–and definitely with the close cooperation of the Pakistani armed forces–attacked bin Laden’s residence on the early morning of May 1, 2011 and killed him, along with one of his sons, and some of his close associates after a limited fire-fight. Immediately after this assault, Barack Obama announced the “American victory” with tympani and cockalorum.
American imperialists and their allies consider bin Laden’s death a big victory for themselves. Now they show off their power even more than before, pretending that no force can resist them. If we look at this claim from a short term tactical perspective then there is no doubt that it possesses some truth. They have eliminated one of America’s current “dangerous enemies” and so cannot avoid boasting about this victory. If we take a deeper look at this issue, however, the imperialists’ strategic weakness and fault can clearly be seen within their current tactical triumph.
First, it should be said that bin Laden was the product of their work: he was trained, organized and armed by them. His benefactors should have been able to easily eliminate such a rebellious one-time agent, just as the Soviet social-imperialists were easily able to eliminate Hafizullah Amin. Spending hundreds billions of dollars and enduring thousands of casualties in a prolonged effort, that stretched over a decade, just to kill a rebellious ex-agent cannot be a sign of strategic strength and power. Continue reading