Tag Archives: pakistan

‘The Notion that we are in Afghanistan to Make our Country Safer is Bullshit’

Rethink Afghanistan

Afghanistan + More Troops = Catastrophe

Here’s Why Obama Is “Gravely Concerned” About Pakistan

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 3): Cost of War

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 4): Civilian Casualties

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 5): Women of Afghanistan

Rethink Afghanistan: (Part 6) Security

Obamageddon – Unprecedented Schemes & Scams

Gerald Celente Obamageddon

Grading Obama – So Far, A Big Fat ‘F’

Give President Obama a grade

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The First 100 Days

Kucinich: “You can’t be in and out at the same time”

Kucinich: Obama extending war chapter

Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich criticizes President Obama for stretching a chapter of war by relocating troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

“We must bring a conclusion to this sorry chapter in American history where war was waged under false pretense against an innocent people,” Kucinich said.

President Barack Obama has decided to assign 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan contingents, while laying out plans for a full withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Congressman Kucinich, however, was critical of the plan.

“Taking troops out of Iraq should not mean more troops available for deployment in other operations,” he said. “You can’t be in and out at the same time.”

Obama plans to keep some 35,000 to 50,000 of the 142,000 troops currently stationed in Iraq in the country after the withdrawal date to advise Iraqi forces, target terror potentials and protect US interests.

The US president did not mention how long the remaining troops would stay in the country.

The Ohio congressman said the White House should “determine at some point to end the occupation, close the bases and bring the troops home.”

“We should immediately bring home American service members and contractors, convene a regional conference to prepare an international peace-keeping force and accelerate Iraq-driven reconstruction,” he concluded.

Obama to Leave 50,000 Troops in Iraq Indefinitely | This is Change?

Of Poppies and War

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Afghanistan: U.S. Escalates the Illegal Drug Industry

It is common knowledge that Afghanistan remains the primary source of the world’s supply of opium and heroin. A recent United Nations’ report claims that three quarters of the world’s heroin comes from the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. But there is also recognition that poppies are grown in almost all of the country’s 34 provinces.

The western media argues that most of the production of illegal drugs is being done by the Taliban or that the Taliban is protecting the farmers. The fact that there are well known drug lords in the government of President Hamid Karzai, and many are members of the parliament, is usually ignored. Yet the Asian press carries photos of “narco palaces” in Kabul and describes the local “narcotecture.” The Afghan population is well aware of the close ties between the drug lords and the government.

Of course this is quite embarrassing to the U.S. government, which put Karzai in office and created the present Afghan constitution and system of government. Thus Hillary Clinton, nominated for Secretary of State, created quite a shock when she referred to Afghanistan as a “narco state” in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.

Forgotten in all this is the key role that the U.S. government played in the development and expansion of the illegal drug industry in Afghanistan. It goes back to the decision made in July 1978 by the administration of Jimmy Carter to give aid and assistance to the radical Islamists in their rebellion against the leftist government of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The CIA and the Afghan Drug Trade

The U.S. government devoted billions of dollars to the proxy war in Afghanistan. Most of this was funneled through the Pentagon’s infamous Black Budget, secret funds for secret operations. In 1981 this budget was estimated at $9 billion but rose to $36 billion by 1990. The CIA obtained cash to buy weapons and other equipment which was then channeled to the Islamist rebels.

In the Afghan operation the CIA provided cash to the Pakistan government, primarily through its accounts with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), best known for laundering illegal drug money. As John Cooley notes, “The CIA already had a history of using corrupt or criminal banks for its overseas operations.” In the 1980s the CIA and the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency were using the BCCI for covert operations. First American, in Washington, D.C., was one of the CIA banks of choice, and it had been acquired by BCCI.

BCCI had close links to the Pakistan government. During the Afghan jihad BCCI officials actually took control of the customs house at the port of Karachi where shipments of arms were sent by the CIA to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). They made cash payments to the ISI, part of which were payoffs, but large sums were also needed to finance the transportation of armaments to the Afghan border and beyond. As Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf reports, much of the CIA aid came in the form of cash. This was used to purchase hundreds of trucks and thousands of horses, mules and camels, in addition to the materials needed to build the training bases for the mujahideen fighters.

The CIA would inform the Pakistan government about the shipments. When the armaments and supplies were landed in Karachi they came under the control of the National Logistics Cell of the Pakistan army and the ISI. They trucked the materials north to the various bases. On the way back the trucks carried opium and heroin for export from Karachi, mainly to the United States. Some of the heroin factories were directly under the control of the ISI, and the whole operation had the support of Pakistan General Fazle Haq, the protector of the industry. President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had appointed him the military commander of the Northwest Frontier Province. He was also directly involved in the heroin trade and laundering money through the BCCI.

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Just Another War President

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Obama to spend $200b on war in 2009

According to the US defense officials, Obama needs USD 75.5 billion for 2009 to cover the cost of the additional troops deployed in to Afghanistan this year and an another USD 130 billion for the rest of fiscal 2009.

Meanwhile, the sources added that the 2010 War spending will be part of the president’s overall defense funding request to be announced on Thursday.

The war spending request will be in addition to USD 534 billion for the US Defense Department’s other expenditures.

The US Congress had already approved USD 65.9 billion in emergency wartime spending for fiscal 2009.

This is while late December, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) reported that the direct cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach as high as USD 1.7 trillion by 2018 even with fewer troops in Iraq.

The CSBA report found that the war in Iraq alone has already cost more in inflation-adjusted dollars than every other US war except World War II.

The cost of sending a single soldier to fight for a year in Afghanistan or Iraq is about USD 775,000 – three times more than in other recent wars, the report said. The report concluded that the nearly USD 1 trillion already spent is only a down payment on the war’s long-term costs.

US defence costs come under scrutiny

Obama, Osama and Medvedev

For those who harbored any doubts, the Barack Obama administration’s adoption of the George W Bush framework of the “war on terror” – it does feel like a back-to-the-future “continuity” – here are two key facts on the ground.

Obama has officially started his much-touted Afghanistan surge, authorizing the deployment of 17,000 US troops (8,000 marines, 4,000 army and 5,000 support) mostly to the Pashtun-dominated, southern Helmand province. Justification: “The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention.” The marines start arriving in Afghanistan in May. Their mission is as hazy as it is hazardous: eradication of the poppy culture, the source of heroin (which accounts for almost 40% of Afghanistan’sgross domestic product). There are already 38,000 US troops in Afghanistan, plus 18,000 as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 50,000 contingent.

Obama administration nominees, in confirmation testimony that seemed to have disappeared in a black hole, stressed they are in favor of continuing the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition practices and detaining – ad infinitum – “terror” suspects without trial, even if they were captured far, far away from a war zone. (Considering the Pentagon’s elastic definition of an “arc of instability”, this means anywhere from Somalia to Xinjiang.) That has prompted New York Times writers to come up with a delightful headline: “Obama’s War on Terror May resemble Bush’s in some Areas.”

When in doubt, bomb ‘em

Basically, the Obama administration’s strategy – for now – boils down to turbo-charging a war against Pashtun farmers and peasants. Poppy cultivation has been part of Afghan culture for centuries. A high-tech aerial war on destitute peasants will have only one certified result: more of them increasing their support for, or outright migration to, the multi-faceted fight against foreign occupation which the Pentagon insists on defining as an “insurgency”.

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Related Story: Is Afghanistan going to be Obama’s Iraq?

What if The American People Woke Up

RON PAUL: WHAT IF… The American People Learn Truth!