The Pentagon in Afghanistan: Wasting no time on empty talk of democracy, focusing on mineral treasures and goals

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117330

DOD, U.S. Agencies Help Afghanistan Exploit Mineral Wealth

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 – Officials from the Defense Department and the U.S. Geological Survey gathered this month at Afghanistan’s U.S. Embassy to unveil what the director of a DOD task force called a “treasure map” of the nation’s mineral resources.

At the event, James Bullion of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, or TFBSO, shared the podium with USGS Director Marcia McNutt, who described a new remote-sensing technology that has made it possible, for the first time, she said, to map more than 70 percent of the country’s surface and identify potential high-value deposits of copper, gold, iron, and other minerals. Continue reading

Africa: Rio+20 Summit Under Corporations’ Undue Influence

18 June 2012, Friends of the Earth (London) –press release

Rio De Janeiro — On the eve of the Rio+20 United Nations Earth Summit [1] on June 20-22, Friends of the Earth International warns world leaders that multinational corporations such as oil giant Shell have an undue influence over the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

According to a briefing released today by Friends of the Earth Netherlands [2], the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is influencing the Rio+20 Summit thanks to senior company representatives in several corporate lobbying groups active in the Rio+20 negotiations, including: the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the International Emissions Trading Association

“It is not acceptable that companies like Shell who cause massive pollution and human rights abuses should be in the driving seat of processes for sustainable development. That is a recipe for disaster for our planet and peoples. Corporate polluters should not help making laws, they should face the law,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. Continue reading

Memorial Day: While the system glorifies imperialist war, the people remember the victims of their war crimes — Iraq


COLLATERAL MURDER — 14:58
Update: On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United
States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an
unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr.
Manning a ‘hero’. He is currently imprisoned, facing military court trial. The Apache crew and those behind the cover
up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see
bradleymanning.org.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST–Statement from Wikileaks

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two
Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success
since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the
unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved
in the rescue were also seriously wounded. Continue reading

Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Protest, Throw Their Medals at NATO Summit!

May 20, 2012 CHICAGO (Reuters) – Nearly 50 U.S. military veterans at an anti-NATO rally in Chicago threw their service medals into the street on Sunday, an action they said symbolized their rejection of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Malaysia: Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

 

George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld — leaders of the group of now-convicted war criminals. Barack Obama, Bush’s successor as President of the US Empire, with a growing list of war crimes of his own, prevented the investigation and prosecution of his predecessor criminals in the US. But Malaysia has forced the issue internationally.

by Yvonne Ridley

Kuala Lumpur,
May 12, 2012

­ It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Friday) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council. Continue reading

Standing Army – A Journey Into The World of Us Military Bases

[For 100 years, revolutionaries have identified imperialism  as the highest stage of capitalism — marked by the domination, and export, of finance capital, thereby dominating and controlling economic, political, military, and cultural affairs on a global scale.  Earlier forms were characterized by an overt colonialism, whereby entire countries were owned and operated as properties or subsidiaries of imperialist powers.  After the second global inter-imperialist war (World War II), imperialism developed an even more extensive, and somewhat camoflaged structure of controls, with the establishment of the monetary system, the World Bank, IMF, WTO, G8, the ICC, and the extensive NGO-ization of “civil society.”   The US military, alliances and bases were extensively developed to enforce the corporate imperialist systems of investment, plunder, exploitation, and capital accumulation.  Imperialism is not the military — the military is in service to imperialism.  In US politics, this is referred to as “civilian” (ie., corporate-imperialist) control of the military.  Those within the system who get this twisted find themselves out of a job, in due time.  Those outside the system who are in opposition to imperialism, and who get it twisted, find themselves chasing the smoke, but not the fire. — Frontlines ed.]

———————————–


Steeper33 on Aug 7, 2010

The US has encircled the world with a web of military bases that today amount to more than 700, in 40 countries. It’s one of the most powerful forces at play in the world, yet one of the less talked-about.
Why do countries like Germany, Italy, Japan still host hundreds of US military bases and thousands US soldiers?
What stance has president Obama taken on this subject?

This documentary answers these and other questions both through the words of experts Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Chalmers Johnson and through those directly affected by US bases in Italy, Japan and the Indian Ocean.
EFFENDEM FILM, TAKAE FILMS presents: Standing Army
http://www.standingarmy.it/
http://www.effendemfilm.com/

Arab Spring and Imperialism

[The “Arab (and North Africa) Spring” enters its second year, where in country after country the complex interplay of domestic people’s movements, regional alliances, and imperialists (of both the crisis-driven old variety, and newbies making new global assertions)–are hellbent on asserting very elusive controls.  Such would-be controllers continue to be frustrated, and while this provides openings for revolutionary people to seize the time, their organizational, political, and military tools have been lacking–so far.  Time will tell how this will play out.  Deepankar Basu, writing in Sanhati, takes on the challenge of clarifying the different contradictions and forces at play. — Frontlines ed.]

————————————————————-

February 20, 2012

by Deepankar Basu, Sanhati

The unprecedented wave of mass movements that started in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly spread to Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, with smaller scale demonstrations in Lebanon, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia has the potential to completely change (a) the socio-economic dynamics within the Arab world, and (b) the relationship of the Arab world to imperialism. To understand the dynamics and implications of the unfolding movements, it seems useful to abstract from the details of the movements in particular countries and take a broad brush view of matters. Moreover, to construct a broad brush view it seems important to disentangle two aspects of (or basic contradictions driving) the situation, not only in Syria that is the current focus of world attention but the Arab world in general.

The first, and primary, aspect is that all these movements, often taking the form of mass uprisings, are movements for democratization of their respective societies, a movement against decades-old authoritarian and brutal regimes backed by imperialism. In most cases, over the last two decades, these regimes saw a convergence between authoritarianism and neoliberalism. One way of stating this is to say, using an old-fashioned terminology, that the primary contradiction that is driving these movements in the contradiction between authoritarian (often neoliberal) regimes and the broad masses of the people in these countries.

The second, and to my mind secondary, aspect is the reality/possibility of imperialist intervention. Using the old-fashioned terminology once again, one could say that the secondary contradiction that is maturing in these events, that is driving these movements, is the contradiction between imperialism and the broad masses of the people.

Note that both contradictions are basic, in the sense that they are both active in the current situation; the current conjuncture is shaped by an interplay between them. But between the two it is also important to distinguish the primary from the secondary. What is the rationale for characterizing the contradiction between the broad masses and authoritarianism as the primary contradiction? The rationale is the following observation: each of these movements, without any exception, started as movements for democratization and against neoliberal authoritarian regimes; each of these movements retain that thrust. Hence, it seems very likely that what is being expressed through these movements is the maturing of the contradiction of these neoliberal authoritarian regimes and the popular classes. If at any point there is direct military invasion of a country by imperialist powers with the intention of turning the country into a colony, then the second contradiction, i.e., the contradiction between imperialism and the broad masses, would become the primary contradiction. Continue reading

Why Was No One Punished for America’s “My Lai” in Iraq?

[Imperialist wars and occupations always operate with absolute impunity for the war crimes committed against civilian victims.  Imperialist wars attempt to win allies and supporters by concealing their imperialist interests behind banners of “democracy” or “human rights” or “freedom” for the targets of their aggression.  For this reason, when war crimes are brought to light through determined exposures, there are some who campaign that the occupiers be held to standards of “human rights.”  But imperialist war criminals are never brought to justice, despite heroic and determined efforts and sacrifices of such campaigners and activists.  But, in time, the people will take matters into their own hands and find the ways to  bring justice to the war criminals of imperialist wars and occupations.   — Frontlines ed.]
—————————————————————-
The U.S. military presence in Iraq was marked by the callous American attitude toward civilians, and the thorough lack of accountability in the military justice system.
February 12, 2012

The plea bargain in the last Haditha massacre case handed down in January is a fitting end to the Iraq war. In the most notorious case of U.S. culpability in Iraqi civilian deaths, no one will pay a price. And that is emblematic of the entire war and its hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced.Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader who encouraged and led his marines to kill 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in November 2005, was the last of eight originally charged in the massacre. The others were let off on technicalities, or to help the prosecution. One officer, not involved in the killing but the coverup, was acquitted in a military trial.

The responsibility for these killings came down to Wuterich’s role, but he never actually went through a full trial. The military prosecutor opted for the slap-on-the-wrist of demotion to private for the 24 civilian deaths. Wuterich, who admitted to much more in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2007—including rolling grenades into a house filled with civilians without attempting to make an identification—copped only to “dereliction of duty.”

The episode was often compared with the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, in which some 400 civilians were executed by Lieutenant William Calley and some of his army unit in 1967. While the scale and circumstances are quite different, they do bear one striking similarity, and that is the reaction of officials and the American public alike. 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

Syria: Internal violence and the West’s external players

[Amid heavily distorted and censored news accounts of events in Syria–overwhelmingly crafted to support one of the opposing sides–this report explores the maneuverings between the Arab League and NATO, which have not found their way into US/EU media, for the most part.  This tells an important part of the story.  Another part is the ongoing and shifting relations between Syria’s Assad regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah–their closest allies–and that story is similarly untold.  Finally, the views of Syrian rebels who are largely unorganized and have no affiliation with or allegience to external forces, are not heard in the media which serves Assad, nor in the media which serves the GCC and NATO. — Frontlines ed.]

—————————————————————–

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA31Ak04.html
January 31, 2012

What is the GCC up to in Syria?
By Pepe Escobar

So the Arab League has a new draft United Nations Security Council resolution to “solve” the Syrian saga. [ 1]

World public opinion may be fooled into believing this is an altruistic Arab solution to an Arab problem. Not really.

First of all this is a draft resolution of NATOGCC – that symbiosis between selected North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and selected petromonarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By now, after their “success” in blasting regime change into Libya, NATOGCC should be well known as the axis between the European poodles of the Pentagon and the six monarchies that compose the GCC, also known as Gulf Counter-revolution Club.

This draft UN resolution goes one step beyond a so-called Arab League transition plan laid out over a week ago. Now the spin is of a “political roadmap” that essentially means President Bashar al-Assad voluntarily stepping out, his vice president installed in power for a transition, the formation of a national unity government, and free and fair elections with international supervision.

According to the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, “The president will delegate his first vice president the full power to work with the national unity government to enable it to perform its task in the transitional period.”

Sounds very civilized – except that it masquerades the real agenda of UN-imposed regime change. A quick look at the draft resolution also reveals a two-week deadline for Assad to get out of Dodge; if not, expect hell, “in consultation” with the Arab League.

“Arab” League is now a fiction; what’s really in charge is the Arab Gulf league, or GCC league; in practice, the House of Saud. Even aspiring regional superpower Qatar plays second fiddle. And everyone else, they are just extras. Continue reading

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

[An interesting study has detailed the organizational networks and concentrations of the world imperialist economic and financial systems of control.  Described in a recent issue of New Scientist magazine, it verifies the visceral sense of monstrous power of “the 1%” as the Occupy movement has dubbed it.  Although this article describes the study as “ideologically-free”, it actually portrays this concentration of power as a natural phenomenon and characteristic of “human nature” as well–as if the dominance of capital and the devastation it brings as collateral damage from the “expand or die” laws of capitalism is genetically, and not culturally, derived. Promoting such an assumption is capitalist ideology at its core. — Frontlines ed.]
—————————————————————
24 October 2011
by Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzieNew Scientist Magazine issue 2835.
The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue

The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue

AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The study’s assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).

“Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market,” says James Glattfelder. “Our analysis is reality-based.”

Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world’s economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy – whether it made it more or less stable, for instance. Continue reading

Time to Destroy the Monsters of War

[Imperialism has brought endless war to every corner of the globe.  Not a day has passed without bombs that blot out the sun and bring rivers of blood, misery, devastation, and death to thousands and millions, in the name of whose “salvation” the wars have scarred and mangled all who stand in the way of capital’s rapacious and malevolent path.  We yearn for the day when such powers will no longer control humanity.  On this Veteran’s Day, when imperialism asks all to salute those who have been pressed to carry the weapons of its wars, we honor the resistance to imperialist war, and those who have pledged and given their lives in the struggles to end the scourge of imperialism. — Frontlines ed.]

Masters of War, by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks Continue reading

CIA, MI6 under scrutiny after secret files reveal Gadhafi rendition deals

The CIA struck rendition deals with Libya as early as 2002
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15365413,00.html

 

With the Gadhafi regime in tatters and the Libyan leader on the run, secret files in Tripoli have come to light which detail the depth of cooperation between the US and UK with Libya on the rendition of terror suspects.

The United States and Britain face embarrassing questions after reams of confidential documents discovered in Libya’s External Security agency headquarters exposed the depth of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6 and fugitive dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s secret service.

The documents, uncovered by officials from the Libyan transitional authority and researchers from Human Rights Watch during a sweep of government buildings, show that both the US and British intelligence services developed very close relations with Gadhafi. This cooperation took place even before the former Libyan leader was rehabillitated in the wake of his pledge to help in the war on terror and his renouncing of nuclear-weapons in 2004. Continue reading

CPG(m-l): “The US imperialists were, are, and will always be the sworn enemies of the peoples of the region”

Hillary Clinton out of Greece!

Imperialists out of Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, Cyprus, and the Middle East!

 War against the imperialist war!

 The visit to Greece of the official representative of US imperialism, Hillary Clinton, is a direct provocation to our people but also to other peoples in the region. It is a show of force of the superpower, first and foremost, against the fighting Greek people.

The representatives of US imperialists visit Greece with audacity in order to confirm their direct intervention in our country and the region.

They come here after the Greek government reshuffling to show to their European counterparts that the superpower wants and can put its stamp in the developments and the balance of powers in the region. It wants mainly the alignment of the regional regimes with the US interests. Continue reading

Statement exposing and opposing the World Economic Forum

[On the event of the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Austria, a number of European anti-imperialist and revolutionary organizations have released this joint statement, analyzing the present world economic crisis, the role of the WEF, and the growing revolutionary struggles against the imperialist system. — Frontlines ed.]

Attack WEF summit in Vienna, Austria, June 2011!

Smash imperialism and all its institutions!

From 8 to 9 June the summit of World Economic Forum (WEF) will take place in Vienna, Austria. Then more than 1000 representatives of various governments and companies with meet to coordinate on “economic, political and academic issues” and draw common plans on that. At least when reading the self-definition of WEF about “membership” one sees clearly who is meeting whom at this summit and which forces are convening for this summit: “A typical member company is a global enterprise with a turn-over of more than 5 billion US dollars.” The WEF summit is more than a mere conference for discussion, it is an important board of coordination of the biggest monopoly enterprises (banks and trusts) in the world sharing their plans for further and further maximizing their profits. The governments of the imperialist as well as the puppet governments installed by them in the dependent countries take part in the meeting to secure the translation of their plans into action. The contents of their coordinated plans are their attacks against the masses of the peoples and the working class. It’s about the interest of those who produce austerity programs, wage-cuts, longer working hours, abolishing political rights und much more against the workers for creating better conditions for the capitalists. It’s about the interest of those who have de-industrialized the Balkans and have destroyed social rights there, who have transformed Greece into a mere colony of EU- and US-Imperialism. It’s about the interest of those who have destroyed environment by ruinously exhausting the soil or by “profitably running” nuclear power plants (such as in Japan). It’s about the interests of those who suppress the peoples around the globe and instigate imperialist wars to enable them shape the conditions according to their profit interest.

It’s not the WEF alone but a long line of various international organizations and cooperations (e.g. International Monetary Funds – IMF, World Bank, General Agreement on Trades in Services – GATS etc.) that are very important for the interest of the capital of the imperialist countries and unions (US, EU, Russia,…). The WEF is however not the most important international meeting but it must nevertheless not be underestimated. As the spheres of exploitation and influence have already been distributed on a global scale the imperialist robbers unavoidably come into conflict with each other during their chase for profits. These contradiction emerging from the struggle for further maximum profits lead to conflicts increasing up to wars among the contending states for world domination. Continue reading