Wounded Warriors Project is a Fraud- Making Millions Off Disabled Veterans


My first experience with the Wounded Warriors Project came in 2006, when I made several donations from between $200 and $500 to the organization. I was a stock broker at the time and my income allowed for such idiocy. I guess you could say that I had more money than I had sense, but more importantly, I gave the money because I felt that I needed to do something to take part in the war effort, and what better way than to provide financial assistance to those who were coming back from the wars in the Middle East maimed and wounded. At least that is where I thought the money that I was donating was going.  Continue reading


Drug Lord El Chapo Tells ISIS His Men Will Destroy Them

el chapo ISIS

The world’s most wanted drug lord has declared war on the Islamic State, promising the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that his narcotics cartel will wipe them off the planet.

“My men will destroy you,”’ El Chapo huffs to the ISIS leader in an encrypted email that was leaked to a cartel-linked blogger in Mexico. Continue reading

Here’s the CIA’s Just-Released Top Secret File on Saudi Ties to 9/11

Here's the CIA's Just-Released Top Secret File on Saudi Ties to 9/11

True to form, the CIA waited until 4:16 p.m. EDT this afternoon to release a trove of documents related to the September 11 attacks. Deep within one of those documents is a section on everything the agency learned after 9/11 about “Issues Relating to Saudi Arabia.” We can now share it here for the first time.

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Former Italian President: CIA & Mossad Were Behind 9/11



The 9-11 terrorist attacks were run by the CIA and Mossad, and that this was common knowledge among global intelligence agenciesitamain1

An older article from Salem News, but a good reminder:  “Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga, who died in 2010, the man who revealed the existence of Operation Gladio, told Italy’s oldest and most widely read newspaper in 2007 that the 9-11 terrorist attacks were run by the CIA and Mossad, and that this was common knowledge among global intelligence agencies. In what translates awkwardly into English, Cossiga told the newspaper Corriere della Sera:  Continue reading

Story Unravels: NBC News Confirms Obama Lied About Bin Laden Raid: Sources Include High Level U.S. Intelligence Officers


Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Samuel Hersh claimed yesterday that the Obama administration lied to the American people about certain aspects aspects of the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. According to Hersh, the United States did not act alone when Navy SEALs were sent to capture or kill the world’s most wanted terrorist. The real story, according to the report, is that members of Pakistani intelligence services were privy to the raid months before it happened and that it was a “walk-in” Pakistani intelligence officer who gave up the location of Bin Laden rather than a CIA operation that tracked him down by following various couriers. Further, it has been claimed that Bin Laden was not buried at sea the way the Obama administration said, but rather, his limbs were simply thrown from the helicopter after the mission (suggesting that some portion of his body, perhaps his head, were retained for posterity’s sake). Continue reading

The CIA Just Released the Documents That George W. Bush Used to Sell the Iraq War

Twelve years after the U.S. launched its invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the secret intelligence report repeatedly cited by the George W. Bush administration as it campaigned for war has finally been made available to the American public.

The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate provides further proof that the president and his aides purposefully mischaracterized and exaggerated the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime in an effort to stoke fear about a nuclear or biological attack on the U.S. and its allies. A close reading of the report, which reflects the consensus of U.S. intelligence at the time, reveals an intelligence community at odds with itself about the nature of the potential threat.

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Busted: BBC Taliban Report Contains Sandy Hook’s “Noah”

While much furor and speculation has surrounded the Sandy Hook event, those questioning mainstream media have turned up a great deal of subterfuge and trickery on the part of establishment outlets.


 As usual, no explanations of these oddities are ever offered beyond the usual ad hominem attack of “conspiracy theorist.”

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U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit

Photo: Press TV

Fire Dog Lake’s Kevin Gosztola notes:

Today US military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The US military is the world’s largest landlord, with significant military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti,Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK.  Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.

Citing a page at US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) website, they highlight the “areas of responsibility” publicly listed:

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) is active in 20 countries across the Middle Eastern region, and is actively ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs, logistical support, and funding to the military in various nations. At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM), according to the paper, “supports military-to-military relationships with 54 African nations.”

[Gosztola points out that the U.S. military is also conducting operations of one kind or another in Syrian, Jordan, South Sudan, Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, the Congo, Uganda, Mali, Niger and other countries.]

Altogether, that makes 74 nations where the US is fighting or “helping” some force in some proxy struggle that has been deemed beneficial by the nation’s masters of war.


A Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an accounting of all the publicly acknowledged deployments of US military forces

But those are just the public operations.

Gosztola notes that the covert operations are uncountable:

Beyond that, there are Special Operations forces in countries. Jeremy Scahill in Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, writes, “By mid-2010, the Obama administration had increased the presence of Special Operations forces from sixty countries to seventy-five countries.


Scahill also reports, based on his own “well-placed special operations sources”:

…[A]mong the countries where [Joint Special Operations Command] teams had been deployed under the Obama administration were: Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Yemen, Pakistan (including in Baluchistan) and the Philippines. These teams also at times deployed in Turkey, Belgium, France and Spain. JSOC was also supporting US Drug Enforcement Agency operations in Colombia and Mexico

Since President Barack Obama has been willing to give the go ahead to operations that President George W. Bush would not have approved, operations have been much more aggressive and, presumably, JSOC has been able to fan out and work in way more countries than ever expected.

Global assassinations have been embraced by the current administration, opening the door to night raids, drone strikes, missile attacks where cluster bombs are used, etc. Each of these operations, as witnessed or experienced by the civilian populations of countries, potentially inflame and increase the number of areas in the world where there are conflict zones.


The world is literally a battlefield with conflicts being waged by the US (or with the “help” of the US). And, no country is off-limits to US military forces.

Of course, JSOC is not accountable to Congress … let alone the public:

JSOC operates outside the confines of the traditional military and even beyond what the CIA is able to do.


But it goes well beyond the war zones. In concert with the Executive’s new claims on extra-judicial assassinations via drone strikes, even if the target is an American citizen, JSOC goes around the world murdering suspects without the oversight of a judge or, god forbid, granting those unfortunate souls the right to defend themselves in court against secret, evidence-less government decrees about their guilt. As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh said at a speaking event in 2009:

Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.


There are legal restrictions on what the CIA can do in terms of covert operations. There has to be a finding, the president has to notify at least the “Gang of Eight” [leaders of the intelligence oversight committees] in Congress. JSOC doesn’t have to do any of that. There is very little accountability for their actions. What’s weird is that many in congress who’d be very sensitive to CIA operations almost treat JSOC as an entity that doesn’t have to submit to oversight. It’s almost like this is the president’s private army, we’ll let the president do what he needs to do.


Karzai Says He Was Assured C.I.A. Would Continue Delivering Bags of Cash

KABUL, Afghanistan — The C.I.A.’s station chief here met with President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, and the Afghan leader said he had been assured that the agency would continue dropping off stacks of cash at his office despite a storm of criticism that has erupted since the payments were disclosed.

Hamid Karzai - CaricatureHamid Karzai – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The C.I.A. money, Mr. Karzai told reporters, was “an easy source of petty cash,” and some of it was used to pay off members of the political elite, a group dominated by warlords.

The use of the C.I.A. cash for payoffs has prompted criticism from many Afghans and some American and European officials, who complain that the agency, in its quest to maintain access and influence at the presidential palace, financed what is essentially a presidential slush fund. The practice, the officials say, effectively undercut a pillar of the American war strategy: the building of a clean and credible Afghan government to wean popular support from the Taliban.



Report: The CIA Has Paid The Afghan President’s Office Tens Of Million Of Dollars Over The Last 10 Years

Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) welcoming US Secretary of State John Kerry (left)

Every month or so since January 2003, the CIA has been dropping off hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in cash at the offices of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, current and former advisers to Karzai told Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times.

And instead of translating into influence for the Agency, American officials told the Times, the tens of millions of dollars in “ghost money” has undermined U.S. strategy by fueling corruption and empowering warlords.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States,” one American official told the Times.

The CIA still makes the payments, Rosenberg reports. And the money is still used to pay off warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade or even the Taliban.

A glaring example of the payments conflicting with U.S. interests is the case of President Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.

Wali Karzai
Ahmed Karzai

Ahmed Karzai, a suspected trafficker of narcotics including opium, was paid by the CIA from 2001 until his assassination in 2011.

He became the Agency’s “landlord” when he began renting the former compound of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar to the CIA and American Special Operations troops.

The compound was the base of the Kandahar Strike Force, a militia run by Ahmed Karzai and used by the CIA to combat militants.

According to internal emails from the U.S. private security firm Stratfor, in 2007 the DEA was investigating Ahmed Karzai for being a “major narcotics trafficker.”

The emails say that the DEA has been told to back off their investigation by the White House and CIA, despite DEA concerns that the drug money was fueling terrorism.

From Stratfor vice president of intelligence Fred Burton:

DEA is seeing a direct nexus between terrorism and narcotics in Afghanistan with narcotics sales being used to fund jihadist operations.

Afghanistan poppy

Since the lifting of the Taliban opium ban after the 2001 invasion, opium production in Afghanistan increased from supplying 70 per cent of the world’s illicit opium to 92 per cent in 2008. Production rose by about 61 per cent from 2010 to 2011 and continued to rise in 2012 as U.S. troops patrolled the poppy fields.

In 2010 the U.S. arrested Mohammed Zia Salehi, Hamid Karzai’s administrative chief, in connection with an investigation linking Afghan cash smugglingTaliban finances, and the opium trade.

Rosenberg notes that President Karzai had Salehi released within hours, and the CIA subsequently helped persuade the Obama administration to back off its sprawling anti-corruption push.

Check out the Times report

Obama Overrides Congress to Buy $690 Million Worth of Russian Choppers for Afghan Air Force

Apparently America has too many jobs so Obama will be spending taxpayer money to support Russia’s defense industry on behalf of Afghanistan. And he’s doing so over the bipartisan objections of Congress from both the right and left and a ban on buying them written into the NDAA.
The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakerswho allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.
The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress last year, includes an amendment that prohibits financial contracts between the United States and Rosoboronexport, except when the Secretary of Defense determines that such arrangements are in the interest of national security.
The contract totals $690 million, most of which would go to the Russian arms maker, he added.
Aside from throwing almost $700 million to a company owned by the Russian government at a time when Obama has taken a chainsaw to the United States military, subsidizing the Russian defense industry helps it develop more weapons that will be sold to America’s enemies.
That money will help fund R&D for the next generation of weapons that an American military dismantled by Obama will be facing on the battlefield.
Rosoboronexport was originally under US sanctions for doing business with Iran until the ban was lifted. Rosoboronexport is still selling advanced weapons to Iran.
And, oh yeah, this was a no bid contract.
The Pentagon didn’t solicit bids from any other company for the helicopters. That “seems just plain stupid,” says Texas Senator John Cornyn, one of nine Republican and eight Democratic senators pressing the U.S. Department of Defense to cancel the deal.

John Pike, director of national security think tank GlobalSecurity.org, says Russia sold Mi-17s to other countries during the Cold War, and that companies other than Rosoboronexport should have secondhand models that could be refurbished: “The notion that you can’t come up with a couple dozen of these puppies in the used helicopter market is hard to believe.”

Well why bother when Barack is willing to be so flexible for Vladimir.
A bipartisan Congressional group wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week in which they objected to the ongoing business relationship between the Russian arms company and the Pentagon. “What is the national security justification of continuing business with Rosoboronexport?” they asked in the letter. “Russia continues to transfer weapons through Rosoboronexport to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” they continued. “Since the Syrian uprising began, Russia has continued to serve as the Assad regime’s chief supplier of weapons, enabling the mass murder of Syrian citizens at the hands of their own government.”
When you’ve got John Cormyn and Rosa DeLauro on the same side, that’s as close to a consensus that you can imagine.




Guantanamo Bay hearing delayed after mysterious disappearance of legal files

courtroom sketch by Janet Hamlin, shows terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 46, who was arraigned at Wednesday's hearing on charges related to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.(AFP Photo / Janet Hamlin)

Pre-trial hearings in the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals have been delayed to address the disappearance of defense legal documents from Pentagon computers, military officials said on Thursday.

A weeklong hearing was scheduled to start on Monday for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri – a Saudi Arabian citizen alleged to be the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000. The attack killed 17 US soldiers aboard the ship and wounded 37 others.

But the trial has now been pushed back to June 11, the US naval base said in an order on Thursday.

It comes just one day after Nashiri’s lawyer, Ricard Kammen, urged Army Colonel James Pohl – who oversees the war crimes court – to cancel this week’s hearing.

He said that officials mishandled more than 500,000 defense lawyer emails and appear to be monitoring their internet searches as they prepare their cases. Kammen also addressed the disappearance of documents, which he blamed on a Pentagon server failure.

“We want to put the case on hold…to find the scope of the intrusions,” Kammen said in a Wednesday statement quoted by Reuters. “Was this the product of negligence or something worse? Also, we need to have the problem fixed.”

Kammen said he was uncertain when the server failure occurred, but said it involved around seven gigabytes of data, or many thousands of pages or documents. He added that information pertaining to his case and others was recovered, but defense teams still need time to review files to make sure nothing was lost or changed.

Forty-eight year old Nashhiri has been held at Guantanamo for six years and seven months. In February 2008, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirmed that waterboarding was used on Nashiri and two other prisoners.

Meanwhile, defense lawyers plan to ask Pohl to delay a week of pre-trial hearings for five detainees charged with plotting the September 11 attacks. The hearings are scheduled to begin on April 22.

courtroom sketch by Janet Hamlin, shows terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 46, who was arraigned at Wednesday's hearing on charges related to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.(AFP Photo / Janet Hamlin)

The attorneys said their confidential documents began vanishing from Pentagon computers in February, and that there was evidence their internal emails had been searched by third parties.

“Three to four weeks’ worth of work is gone, vanished,”
 Navy Commander Walter Ruiz, who represents 9/11 defendant Mustafa al Hawsawi, said.

He added that what appeared to be a computer folder of prosecution files had turned up on the defense lawyer’s system, though none of them had opened the files.

“I’ll be filing a hand-written motion very shortly to ask for an abatement of the proceedings,”
 in the 9/11 case, said defense attorney James Connell, who represents defendant Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.

The mysterious situation prompted Colonel Karen Mayberry, defense counsel for the tribunals, to order military and civilian defense lawyers to stop using their government computers for sensitive information and drafts of their work.

In a separate incident, system administrators were searching files at prosecutors’ request and were able to access more than half a million defense files, including confidential attorney-client communications, the lawyers said.

A spokesperson for Human Rights First – a long-term critic of the Guantanamo tribunals – has called the latest situations

“absolutely outrageous.” “This is just further evidence that the military commission system is a sham and that all terrorism trials should be held in real US federal courts on US soil, where the rules are clear, defendants’ rights are respected, and the verdicts will have credibility,” Daphne Eviatar said.

AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan

AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan

In January 2009, US President Barack Obama ordered the facility to be closed within a year, and banned certain interrogation methods.

However, in May of that year, the US Senate refused to allow the prison to be closed until the president provided more detail as to what would be done with the prisoners.

The news of the missing documents comes as dozens of Guantanamo detainees take part in a hunger strike to protest against their conditions, which UN human rights chief Navi Pillay calls a “clear breach of international law.

Thursday marks the 65th day of the hunger strike.  For more on the strike, follow RT’s day-by-day timeline.




U.S. Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture, Kill, and Abuse Civilians

u.s., commandos, in, 75, countries, are, teaching, militaries, to, torture,, kill,, and, abuse, civilians, US Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture Kill and Abuse Civilians

(PolicyMIC) -While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens.

The training of foreign militaries to serve the interests of the American state goes all the way back to at least the Cold War. The U.S. used taxpayer money and weapons to subsidize foreign governments and militaries that were “anti-communist” even if the regimes were incredibly brutal and ruthless. All an authoritarian had to do was refer to his political opponents as “communists” and the Americans came rushing in.

In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads. Cheaper and less visible than directly invading and overthrowing governments the U.S. didn’t like, sock puppet dictators were the preferred means of implementing policy.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left very little justification for an American imperial position throughout the globe, yet those same Cold War policies were not only not discarded, but expanded upon. Back in 2010, President Obama and the Pentagon began implementing a strategy with a larger emphasis on “combat operations” and military-to-military coordination. U.S. Special Forces are now operating in (at least) 75 countries, teaching their governments more efficient means of subjugating their populations, creating chaos, and serving the interests of the American empire.

Syria is the most recent example of this policy. While publicly claiming that the U.S. is helping build schools and hospitals in Syria, the Associated Press and New York Times reports document that the U.S. is training and arming Syrian “rebels” opposing the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. With the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, most of the weapons are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, many of whom belonging to groups that just a few years ago were killing U.S. Marines in Iraq.

President Obama, secretly and without the consent of Congress, sent more than 150 Special Forces to Jordan to train the anti-Assad fighters on the use of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

What is even more disturbing is that the Syrian “rebels” have most likely already used chemical weapons, have a reputation for beheading prisoners, and that U.S. support is prolonging the conflict in the region. The reasons for U.S. intervention are of course complicated and multifaceted, but it most likely has to do with attempts to destabilize Iran’s strongest ally and what the Romans called divide et impera.

Syria may be the most dangerous example of the Obama administration’s enhanced policy of covert military training and assistance, but unfortunately it is nowhere near the only one. In Mali, along with building a brand new drone base, U.S. AFRICOM chief General Carter Ham admitted that while training Mali’s military, they “skipped ethics.” Targeting dissidents based on ethnicity and executing them is a staple of the U.S.-trained Mali government.

In Indonesia, the Obama administration resumed training and assisting an elite Indonesian military unit whose members have been convicted of massive human rights abuses in East Timor. U.S.-trained forces in Guatemala have incredibly close ties to some of the region’s most violent drug cartels and are notorious for their brutal treatment of civilians during the Guatemalan civil war.

A report from the Washington Office on Latin America details a U.S. policy called “the Merida Initiative” designed to “help the region’s militaries take on internal security roles” and use American police to train local police. Although President Obama publicly denounced the 2009 military coup in Honduras, Wikileaks cables later revealed that the Obama administration had members of the State Department meet with the illegitimate new Honduran “president” to help coordinate the implementation of the Merida Initiative.

The policy of militarizing, arming, and subsidizing foreign governments, especially those with well-known and documented human rights abuses and commissions of war crimes, appears to be a staple of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. But these policies help contribute to the spread of dictatorships, humanitarian crises, and instability while making the possibility of resentment and blowback much more likely.

It is becoming more and more clear that the bipartisan consensus policy of military interventionism is a threat to peace and security. Neutrality and non-intervention, as the Founders recommended, is a far more practical alternative and is still the best way to spread the American values our politicians are so fond of endorsing.

Tiny, Suicidal Drone/Missile Mashup Is Part of U.S.’ Afghanistan Arsenal


(Wired) -U.S. troops may be winding down their war in Afghanistan, but they’re now also operating one of the most bleeding-edge lethal drones available. 

Afghanistan is the trial by fire of the Switchblade, AeroVironment’s much-hyped miniature mashup of drone and missile. Most killer drones are designed like aircraft and fire missiles at a target. The Switchblade is the missile.

Unveiled to much fanfare in 2011 — it even got its own weird Taiwanese animation — as of last fall, Army soldiers in Afghanistan had yet to use the six-pound Switchblade they paid some $10 million to procure. But the U.S.-NATO military command there says they’re loving what they’re seeing from it.

“Switchblade is in use in Afghanistan and has proven to be a very effective tool in our campaign,” the 3rd Infantry Division’s Lt. Col. Ben Garrett, a spokesman for U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan, confirms to Danger Room.


But that’s all the military will confirm. It’s not saying anything about “deployment, effectiveness, distribution or tactical employment” of the system, Garrett says, beyond an assurance that the Switchblade is “very effective.” Nothing about how many times it’s been operate; nothing about the breakdown between its surveillance missions and its lethal ones; and certainly nothing about its accuracy.

This is getting to be a thing with the International Security Assistance Force. The U.S.-NATO military command recently opted to stop publishing data on Taliban attacks. Danger Room has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with U.S. Central Command to learn more about the Switchblade.

Still, the specs alone on the Switchblade make it worth watching. Unlike every other drone in military use, the Switchblade only looks like an aircraft once its wings unfold, following a launch from a tube. Once in the air, the Switchblade’s size limits its flight time, but its cameras send a video feed back to a remote operator who could be a dismounted soldier. AeroVironment bills it as a tool for pursuit of an adversary on the move or for close air support-in-a can for troops pinned down by enemy fire. That’s because once a target comes into view, the operator can send the Switchblade on a one-way mission, careening it into an enemy position to detonate. It can also be pre-programmed to hit a set target.

While little battlefield information on the Switchblade has emerged, the Army already wants more than the 75 units it’s sent to Afghanistan, as Danger Room pal Paul McLeary of Defense News reports. Ultimately, the Army wants to acquire a “Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System” of tiny Switchblade-like drones — possibly based on the Switchblade itself — to spot and kill a target from six miles away. Much hinges on just how effective the Switchblade’s trial by fire in Afghanistan actually is.

US Air Force scrubs drone strike data from reports



(RT) -As the US military continues to court scrutiny regarding drone use, the Air Force has stopped sharing information on the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan. Going one step further, it has removed those statistics from prior reports on its website.

The Air Force’s Central Command began keeping track of drone weapon releases in October 2012, according to the Air Force Times. The move was described at that time as a bid to “provide more detailed information on [drone] ops in Afghanistan,” said Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender, the magazine reports.

Statistics were recorded as part of the policy for November, December and January. But when February’s numbers were published on March 7, there was only a blank space where the drone statistics were normally placed.

And beyond that, the monthly reports posted to the Air Force’s website had the drone data removed from them in recent weeks, with the data still being posted as late as February 16.

The data wipe comes as drone-use has fallen under close scrutiny in connection with the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA. Brennan faced fierce opposition in the Senate, though he was ultimately approved, because of his defense of drone use while acting as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.

Cheney Admits that He Lied about 9/11



(Washington’s Blog) -What Else Did He Lie About?

The New York Times’ Maureen Daud writes today:

In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” [Cheney said]  “I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out.” Mr. Cheney kept W. flying aimlessly in the air on 9/11 while he and Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location, leaving Washington in a bleak, scared silence, with no one reassuring the nation in those first terrifying hours.

“I gave the instructions that we’d authorize our pilots to take it out,” he says, referring to the jet headed to Washington that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. He adds: “After I’d given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment.”


When they testified together before the 9/11 Commission, W. and Mr. Cheney kept up a pretense that in a previous call, the president had authorized the vice president to give a shoot-down order if needed. But the commission found “no documentary evidence for this call.”

In other words, Cheney pretended that Bush had authorized a shoot-down order, but Cheney now admits that he never did.  In fact, Cheney acted as if he was the president on 9/11.

Cheney lied about numerous other facts related to 9/11 as well.  For example, Cheney:

How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?



(ProPublica) -Earlier this week, we wrote about [1] a significant but often overlooked aspect of the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen: so-called signature strikes, in which the U.S. kills people whose identities aren’t confirmed. While President Obama and administration officials have framed [2] the drone program as targeting particular members of Al Qaeda, attacks against unknown militants reportedly may account [3] for the majority of strikes.

The government apparently calls such attacks signature strikes because the targets are identified based on intelligence “signatures” that suggest involvement in terror plots or militant activity.



So what signatures does the U.S. look for and how much evidence is needed to justify a strike?

The Obama administration has never spoken publicly about signature strikes. Instead, generally anonymous officials have offered often vague examples of signatures. The resulting fragmentary picture leaves many questions unanswered.

In Pakistan, a signature might include:

Training camps…

  • Convoys of vehicles that bear the characteristics of Qaeda or Taliban leaders on the run. – Senior American and Pakistani officials, New York Times [4], February 2008.
  • “Terrorist training camps.” – U.S. Diplomatic Cable [5] released by Wikileaks, October 2009.
  • Gatherings of militant groups or training complexes. – Current and former officials, Los Angeles Times [6], January 2010.
  • Bomb-making or fighters training for possible operations in Afghanistan…. a compound where unknown individuals were seen assembling a car bomb. – Officials, Los Angeles Times [7], May 2010.
  • Travel in or out of a known al-Qaeda compound or possession of explosives. – U.S. officials, Washington Post [8], February 2011.
  • Operating a training camp… consorting with known militants. – High-level American official, The New Yorker [9], September 2011.

A group of guys…

  • Large groups of armed men. – Senior U.S. intelligence official, Associated Press [10], March 2012.
  • Groups of armed militants traveling by truck toward the war in Afghanistan. – Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp. – Senior official, May 2012.
  • “The definition is a male between the ages of 20 and 40.” – Former Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Daily Beast [12], November 2012.
  • “Armed men who we see getting into pickup trucks and heading towards the Afghanistan border or who are in a training exercise.” – Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Council on Foreign Relations [13], January 2013.

Officials have characterized the intelligence that goes into these strikes as thorough, based on “days [14]” of drone surveillance and other sources — and said that [15] apparently low-level people may still be key to an organization’s functioning. In 2010, an official told the Los Angeles Times [7] that the CIA makes sure “these are people whose actions over time have made it obvious that they are a threat.”

In Yemen, signature strikes are reportedly bound by stricter rules [11]. Officials have often cited the necessity of a plot against Americans:

  • Clear indication of the presence of an al-Qaeda leader or of plotting against targets in the United States or Americans overseas. — Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • “Individuals who are personally involved in trying to kill Americans… or intelligence that…[for example] a truck has been configured in order to go after our embassy in Sanaa.” — Senior administration official, Washington Post [16], January 2013

These strikes are not supposed to target “lower-level foot soldiers battling the Yemeni government,” U.S. officials told [17] the Wall Street Journal. A White House spokesman said last summer [18] that the U.S. “[has] not and will not get involved in a broader counterinsurgency effort” in Yemen.

But experts say some strikes [19] in Yemen do appear to have been aimed at local militants [20]. In Pakistan, in addition to low-level militants who might be involved in the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. has sometimes hit [21] those who posed a threat to the Pakistani government.

As we detailed [1], signature strikes have also been criticized by human rights groups and some legal observers because of the lack of transparency surrounding them, including on the number of civilians killed.

Bradley Manning denies 12 charges, “aiding the enemy.”


(ArsTechnica) – Private Bradley Manning has admitted he was the source of the massive stores of confidential information handed off to WikiLeaks, and he pleaded guilty to 10 charges including “possessing and wilfully communicating” all the sensitive information posted on WikiLeaks.

Manning denied 12 other charges, though, including the biggest one of all: “aiding the enemy.” He faces a life sentence if convicted on that count.

Manning will read out a 35-page statement later today describing why he leaked the information, according to The Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington. In another remarkable tweet from this morning, Pilkington reports that Manning actually tried to give his stores of information to The Washington Post and The New York Times but “failed to get through to them,” so he went to WikiLeaks.

Manning’s case now speeds toward a June 3 court-martial, which military judge Colonel Denise Lind has estimated could take 12 weeks. Col. Lind will hear the case herself; there will be no jury at Manning’s request. Manning has already been imprisoned for more than 1,000 days without a trial, a milestone that was marked by his supporters earlier this week.

As The Guardian notes, the information leaked by Manning included video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq, a large leak of US diplomatic cables, files on Guantanamo detainees, and a huge chunk of confidential “war logs” from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Argo wins Oscar in Hollywood’s dirty anti-Iran game: Analysts

(Press TV) -The granting of the Best Picture Oscar to the Iranophobic movie Argo has long been foreseeable as the Machiavellian maneuvering of Hollywood propaganda harbors a much more elaborate imperialistic scheme, political analysts say.

“I put my money on this film to win the Best Picture Oscar (even though there is nothing remotely “best” about it) especially if Obama can pull off winning the Presidential election,” wrote cultural critic Kim Nicolini in an article published in October 2012.

“Argo, above all else, is a piece of conservative liberal propaganda created by Hollywood to support the Obama administration’s conservative liberal politics as we move toward the Presidential election,” she said before Obama was re-elected for the second term.

“It also primes the war wheels for an American-supported Israeli attack on Iran, so that Leftists can feel okay about the war when they cast their vote for Obama in November (2012),” the critic pointed out.

At the 85th edition of Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on Sunday, Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, announced Argo as winner of the Best Picture Oscar, live from the White House.

The thriller directed by US filmmaker Ben Affleck is loosely based on the allegedly historical account by former CIA agent Tony Mendez about the rescue of six American diplomats during the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The revolutionary Iranian university students who took over the US Embassy believed that the embassy had turned into a den of espionage which aimed to overthrow the nascent Islamic Republic establishment.

Argo only tells the rescue operation of the six Americans from the Canadian Embassy in Iran, with no mentioning of the 53 Americans who spent 444 days in the US Embassy.

Nicolini lashed out at Argo for completely neglecting to provide the Iranian’s side of the story, noting, “The film is a sanitized version of the events.”

She argued that “there is nothing authentic about the film’s manipulation of historical events,” and described the movie as “pure political propaganda.”

“Given the vast number of people who have died in the Middle East (Americans, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, etc.), why should we give so much attention to 6 white American diplomats who were saved by Hollywood and the CIA? What about all the other people from so many cultural demographics who have and are continuing to be massacred, murdered and tortured daily?” the critic questioned.

One of the most disputed aspect of Argo’s version of events has to do with Canada’s role in the escape, as the film is considered to be a very inaccurate dramatization of a purported joint CIA-Canadian secret operation.

Former Canadian Ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor has heavily criticized the movie, saying, “The amusing side is the script writer (Chris Terrio) in Hollywood had no idea what he’s talking about.”

He said Argo downplays the actual extent of the Canadian involvement which was considerable.

Taylor criticized Argo for incorporating a myriad of creative liberties that included the “black and white” portrayal of Iranian people and fabricated scenes, adding that Argo “characterizes people in a way that isn’t quite right.”

The former Canadian envoy argued that Argo didn’t portray “a more conventional side,” and “a more hospitable side” of the Iranian society as well, an “intent that they were looking for some degree of justice.”

Political analysts say Argo unmasks the elaborate US scheme to employ every medium in its propaganda apparatus to incite Iranophobia across the globe.

“Argo is an arrant instance of Hollywoodism. In point of fact, it is yet another attempt to foment Iranophobia not only in the USA but across the world as well,” Iranian academic Dr. Ismail Salami wrote in an article on Press TV website in November 2012.

“In recent years, Iranophobia has come to encompass a wider scope of media including cinema which is incontestably capable of exercising a more powerful effect on manipulating the audience,” he said.

The analyst also lashed out at Argo’s director for portraying a “stereotyped and caricatured view” of the Iranian society and noted that Affleck has consciously sought to ridicule “the very customs and traditions” of Iran.

In an interview with Press TV, top Iranian official Masoumeh Ebtekar who was a spokeswoman of the students who took over the US Embassy in 1979, says she initially thought that the film would be a balanced representation of events, but after seeing the film, she says it does not tell the story of the takeover as it actually happened.

“The group who took over the American Embassy were a group of young, very orderly and quite calm men and women … The scenes that you see in Argo are totally incorrect,” Ebtekar said.

Iranian film critic Masoud Foroutan told Press TV that Argo was “politically-motivated,” noting, “The making of the film from the technical aspect is ok but the story is not authentic. The story is custom-made and you could see where it would end up. The film was a politically-motivated one.”

On the 19th of January 1981, the Algiers Accords was signed by the United States and Iran which secured the release of the American diplomats. A day later, the 53 Americans were released in Tehran and minutes later former US President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.

Meanwhile, political observers contend that the US has always sought to keep the Algiers Accords hidden from the general public and it comes as no surprise as Argo makes no mention of the accords either.

Afghans give U.S special forces the boot citing torture

(IBI Times) The Afghan government Sunday ordered all U.S. special forces to leave a province after reports from local officials that the elite force is behind several cases of Afghan civilians being tortured or disappeared.

The decision seems to have caught the coalition and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, a separate command, by surprise, the Associated Press reported.

Officials in Maidan Wardak, a province that borders Kabul on the west and where security has deteriorated over the past year, had presented evidence to President Hamid Karzai and other officials alleging that nine people had disappeared after being seized by U.S. special forces in raids on their homes, the Guardian reported.

U.S. special forces were also accused of the death of a university student whose tortured remains were found days after he went missing.

“People have been complaining about U.S. special forces units torturing and killing people in that province, and nine individuals were taken from their homes recently and they have just disappeared and no one knows where they have gone,” said Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Karzai.

Officials made the decision at a meeting Sunday morning chaired by Karzai, Faizi said, but the government has known of the allegations for months.

Karzai’s office gave no additional details and didn’t specify the identities of the Afghans working alongside the U.S. forces. And the Wardak province chief of police told The Los Angeles Times that he had no evidence to back up the claims.

The announcement comes days after NATO defense ministers said they had made progress planning a military assistance mission in Afghanistan after the alliance’s combat role expires at the end of 2014.

A draft proposal discussed last week in Brussels for possible NATO operations in Afghanistan after 2014 envisions a force of up to 9,500 American troops and up to 6,000 more from other coalition nations, according to alliance officials, who stressed that no final decisions had been made, the AP reported. Other NATO officials said the combined American and allied force would be smaller, falling in a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops.

The Taliban have staged many attacks against coalition forces in Maidan Wardak. In August 2011, insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 30 American troops, mostly elite Navy SEALs, in Wardak. The crash was the single deadliest loss for U.S. forces in the war.

Afghan forces have taken the lead in many special operations, especially so-called night raids.

“Those Afghans in these armed groups who are working with the U.S. special forces, the defense minister asked for an explanation of who they are,” Faizi said. “Those individuals should be handed over to the Afghan side so that we can further investigate.”

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul said it was aware of the order, but declined to provide further information. It was also unable to confirm the number of U.S. special forces currently in Maidan Wardak.

“We take allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them, but until we’ve had a chance to talk to senior government of Afghanistan officials, we’re not in a position to comment further,” a spokesman said.

“These individuals in the U.S. special forces, who are behind these crimes like murdering and torturing people and harassing people, this is in itself an elemental factor in the deteriorating security situation” in the province, Faizi said.

Afghanistan’s own elite commando forces, including the 1st, 2nd and 6th Special Operations Kandak, also operate in Maidan Wardak, often working alongside the Americans. Faizi said that association was making enemies for the government.

Sunday’s decision comes as Afghan forces face mounting pressure to show they are fit to fully inherit Afghanistan’s security from their foreign backers in 2014. Tensions between Karzai’s government and the alliance also hit a new low last week after he condemned a NATO airstrike that killed nine civilians. He then issued a decree banning Afghan security forces from calling in NATO airstrikes.

Faizi said security in Maidan Wardak, and nearby Logar province, which also borders Pakistan, has been of particular concern to the Afghan government because of heightened violence and Taliban activity there.

Maidan Wardak currently hosts mainly U.S. troops. A brigade of 3,000 to 4,000 Afghan soldiers is also deployed in the province, according to ISAF.

Meanwhile, Taliban suicide bombers attacked several Afghan military installations in Kabul and eastern Afghanistan Sunday.


Reinstate Military Draft Bill Introduced to Include All Women


military draft

(Activist Post) -Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants all Americans to serve their government, including women. On Friday he introduced one bill that would reinstate the draft and another that would require all women to register for Selective Service as well.

Rangel introduced  The National Universal Service Act(H.R. 747) for the sixth time since first being proposed in 2003 during the Iraq war.  H.R 747 “would require 30 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform two years of national service in either the armed services or in civilian life.”

Rangel also introduced the All American Selective Service Act (H.R. 748) which requires all women to enroll in the Selective Service System.  This would essentially double the number of registrants. The current law requires only men ages 18 to 25 to register, leaving approximately only 13.5 million in the registry.

“Now that women can serve in combat they should register for the Selective Service alongside their male counterparts,” said Rangel in a statement. “Reinstating the draft and requiring women to register for the Selective Service would compel the American public to have a stake in the wars we fight as a nation. We must question why and how we go to war, and who decides to send our men and women into harm’s way.”

The last time Rangel introduced the “draft” bill was in 2011 on the very same day the Obama Administration launched a preemptive war in Libya on no-fly zone orders from the U.N., without Congressional approval, and despite never having been attacked or threatened by Libya.

He admitted at the time that the Iraq war was based on lies, “on false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and involvement in the 9/11.” Yet he still insisted more Americans should be ”sharing in duty and service.”

In one sense Rangel truly believes all Americans should serve their country in some capacity, especially because the military is stretched so thin where multiple tours of duty are resulting in increased PTSD and record suicide rates.

On the other hand, he also believes a draft would force more young Americans to question the necessity of current wars.

“I served in Korea, and understand that sometimes war is inevitable,” Rangel continued. “However military engagement should be our last resort. If we must go to war, every American should be compelled to stop and think twice about whether it is worth sending our brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters to fight. Currently less than one percent of America’s population is unfairly shouldering the burden of war.”

US-led airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians

an civiliansThis file photo shows Afghan villagers standing at a house that was hit by a US-led NATO airstrike in Sajawand village in Logar Province, south of Kabul.

(PressTV) -At least 10 Afghan civilians, including women and children, have been killed in an airstrike carried out by US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Local officials said on Wednesday that the attack in eastern Kunar Province claimed the lives of “five children, four women and a man.”
A spokesman for the US-led NATO forces said they have launched an investigation into the report.

Afghans have become increasingly outraged at the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults by US-led forces in the country over the past months. The killings have been the main source of friction between Kabul and Washington.

In another similar attack on January 23, three Afghans were killed and two others wounded in the eastern province of Nangarhar when a US-led warplane targeted a residential building.
The US claims that its operations target militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after 11 years, insecurity remains in the country despite the presence of many US-led forces.

Obama: When War in Afghanistan Is Over, We Will Fight a War in Afghanistan



(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night that he will end the war in Afghanistan by the end of next year, and that after that he will keep tens of thousands of American troops in Afghanistan to fight a war in Afghanistan.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over,” said Obama.

For the period after 2014, he said, “We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

Thus, U.S. forces left in Afghanistan after the war is “over,” will “pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

“Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda,” said Obama. “Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead.  Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change,” said Obama. “We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

The GAO reported this week that there were about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as of December. If 33,000 of those troops are brought home over the next year, as President Obama said in his State of the Union, that will leave another 33,000 U.S. troops still in Afghanistan.

Those 33,000 U.S. troops Obama intends to keep in Afghanistan–as Obama described it–will pursue al Qaeda, which is what U.S. troops first went to Afghanistan to do in 2001.

Iranian Oops: US may have broken own sanctions by buying Tehran’s oil


(RT) -There is a high probability that US sanctions against Iran have been violated by its own army. Part of the $1.55 billion in fuel the US bought from Turkmenistan for the Afghan army in the last five years may have originated in Iran.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) suggested that “despite actions taken by DOD to prevent the purchase of Iranian fuel with US funds, risks remain that US economic sanctions could [have been] violated” from 2007 to 2012.

Most of the fuel for domestic Afghan consumption comes from neighboring Iran. Because of the US sanctions on Tehran restricting the trade of Iranian oil and petroleum products, the ISAF has been required to abide by the regulations and buy petrol from eight Afghan-owned companies that deliver petroleum from Turkmenistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

The SIGAR report also acknowledged there are no plausible oversight mechanisms to make sure Iranian petroleum products are not included in future fuel purchases.

Turkmenistan is a major regional oil producer, which also trades for petroleum products made in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Iran. Petrol vendors in Turkmenistan use flexible supply schemes, meaning that fuel of various origins could potentially be blended together.

In response to a draft of SIGAR report, the US Embassy in Kabul stated that “it is possible that if blending is taking place in Turkmenistan it could contain some Iranian fuel,” but refused to admit that fuel imported from Russia could also be blended with Iranian fuel prior to its import into Afghanistan.

All fuel imports carry a ‘verified Fuel Passport’ from the refinery, which provides information on the origin, quantity, quality, and specifications of the fuel,” the embassy explained.

“Suppliers are unlikely to blend Iranian fuel, or any other product, with other sourced fuel because of the potential that blending could cause product deviation from specification standards and potentially cause a rejection of the entire shipment,” the embassy said.

In 2012, the Pentagon reportedly spent over $800 million on imports from Turkmenistan, most likely for fuel purchases.

Iran escaping sanctions

Western sanctions have taken their toll on Iran: Tehran was formerly OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, exporting 2.2 million barrels of oil daily. The sanctions more than halved that figure, to 890,000 barrels of oil exported a day by September 2012.

The Iranian economy has lost billions of dollars in revenue, plunging to decades-low figures. The value of the national currency, the rial, has taken a kamikaze dive; the Iranian leadership, including incendiary President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was forced to publicly admit the sanctions were having an effect.

But Tehran has quickly recovered from the US-EU sanctions imposed on its oil trade. By the end of last year, Iranian crude oil exports rose again to 1.4 million barrels per day. Most of the Iranian oil is sold to Asian countries such as China, India and Japan, where demand for energy is growing. The expansion of Iran’s tanker fleet also helped the Islamic Republic circumvent the sanctions.

The US believes that the most common trick Iran uses to dodge sanctions is ship-to-ship transfers (STS), in which large tankers leaving Iran’s ports offload Iranian oil to smaller vessels. Then, the Iranian oil is blended with that of another country to disguise it. After that, new shipping documents are issued, giving the blended oil shipment a new identity, Reuters reported.

The US has scrambled to enact countermeasures on the news that its sanctions are being skirted. Reuters reported on Thursday that the US State Department is planning to target companies that deliberately disguise Iranian oil shipments to evade Western sanctions.

Also, an unnamed US official said that the US authorities are “increasingly aware of this STS issue,” and that companies involved in covert deals for Iranian oil will be punished. Sanctions violators could be prohibited from trading with the US companies, for example.

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou sentenced for leaking name on agency’s use of torture

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A former CIA officer was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison by a federal judge who rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower on the agency’s use of torture when he leaked a covert officer’s name to a reporter.

A plea deal required the judge to impose a sentence of 2 1/2 years. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she would have given John Kiriakou much more time if she could.


Kiriakou’s supporters describe him as a whistleblower who exposed aspects of the CIA’s use of torture against detained terrorists. Prosecutors said he was merely seeking to increase his fame by trading on his insider knowledge.

Kiriakou’s 2007 interviews about the interrogations of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah were among the first by a CIA insider confirming reports that several detainees had been waterboarded.

The 48-year-old pleaded guilty last year to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. No one had been convicted under the law in 27 years.



In 2002, he played a key role in the agency’s capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan. Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded by government interrogators, revealed information that exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Accounts conflict, though, over whether the waterboarding was helpful in gleaning intelligence from Abu Zubaydah, who was also interrogated conventionally.




Kiriakou, who did not participate in the waterboarding, expressed ambivalence in interviews about waterboarding, but he ultimately declared it was torture.

In court papers, prosecutors said the investigation of Kiriakou began in 2009 when authorities became alarmed after discovering that detainees at Guantanamo Bay possessed photographs of CIA and FBI personnel who had interrogated them. The investigation eventually led back to Kiriakou, according to a government affidavit.

Prosecutors said Kiriakou leaked the name of a covert operative to a journalist, who disclosed it to an investigator working for the lawyer of a Guantanamo detainee.

Kiriakou was initially charged under the World War I-era Espionage Act, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

Anti-War Protester Interrupts Hearing, Kerry Says Outburst ‘Good Exclamation Point for My Testimony’


Obama-KerryPresident Obama announces his nomination of Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state, at the White House on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


(CNSNews.com) – A heckler interrupted Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) opening remarks at his confirmation hearing on Thursday to become the next Secretary of State, an outburst that Kerry defended as indicative of American democracy and which reminded him of his own political action against the Vietnam war some 42 years ago.

The young woman, dressed in a pink hat, called for an end to U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the heckler was removed from the room by Capitol Police, Kerry said the woman reminded him of his time as an anti-Vietnam war activist who, along with other protestors, “wanted to have our voices heard.”


During his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kerry implied that freedom of speech is part of American democracy and said the protestor’s shouts were “a good explanation point to my testimony.”

In his opening prepared statement, Kerry referred to his military service during the Vietnam War but did not mention his testimony in 1971 before the same committee about some U.S. troops committing atrocities, such as raping civilians and beheading victims.

“And as we talk about war and peace and foreign policy, I want us all to keep in our minds the extraordinary men and women in uniform who are on the front lines, the troops at war who help protect America,” Kerry said. “As a veteran, I will always carry the consequences of our decisions in my mind and be grateful that we have such extraordinary people to back us up.”

Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed and will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down in March.

US-led drone raids kill dozens in Afghanistan


(PressTV) -The deadly attacks took place in eastern Nuristan province late on Monday.

There have been conflicting reports about the identity of the victims. Local officials say the strikes targeted Taliban militants, but villagers report that those killed were all unarmed civilians.

Provincial police chief Ghulamullah Nuristani on Tuesday confirmed the attacks, saying the strikes targeted Taliban militants.

He added that at least 35 militants including the foreign nationals were killed or wounded in the strikes.

The latest attacks come on day after a US-led drone killed two people in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan,

Foreign troops have already been under fire from both Afghan government and public over the deadly airstrikes.

Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are al-Qaeda militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks over the past few years.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led troops.

The Drone Commander:20,000 Airstrikes in the President’s First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia

 of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?”

(AlterNet) -Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on terror” falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The U.S. dropped 17,500 bombs during its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It conducted 29,200 air strikes during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. air forces conducted at least another 3,900 air strikes in Iraq over the next eight years, before the Iraqi government finally negotiated the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces. But that pales next to at least 38,100 U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan since 2002, a country already occupied by U.S. and NATO forces, with a government pledged by its U.S. overlords to bring peace and justice to its people.
The Obama administration is responsible for at least 18,274 air strikes in Afghanistan since 2009, including at least 1,160 by pilotless drones. The U.S. conducted at least 116 air strikes in Iraq in 2009 and about 1,460 of NATO’s 7,700 strikes in Libya in 2011. While the U.S. military does not publish figures on “secret” air and drone strikes in other countries, press reports detail a five-fold increase over Bush’s second term, with at least 303 strikes in Pakistan, 125 in Yemen and 16 in Somalia.
Aside from the initial bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 and the “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq in March and April 2003, the Obama administration has conducted more air strikes day-in day-out than the Bush administration. Bush’s roughly 24,000 air strikes in seven years from 2002 to 2008 amounted to an air strike about every 3 hours, while Obama’s 20,130 in four years add up to one every 1-3/4 hours.
The U.S. government does not advertise these figures, and journalists have largely ignored them. But the bombs and missiles used in these air strikes are powerful weapons designed to inflict damage, death and injury over a wide radius, up to hundreds of feet from their points of impact. The effect of such bombs and shells on actual battlefields, where the victims are military personnel, has always been deadly and gruesome. Many soldiers who lived through shelling and bombing in the First and Second World Wars never recovered from “shell-shock” or what we now call PTSD.
The use of such weapons in America’s current wars, where “the battlefield” is often a euphemism for houses, villages or even urban areas densely populated by civilians, frequently violates otherwise binding rules of international humanitarian law. These include the Fourth Geneva Convention, signed in 1949 to protect civilians from the worst effects of war and military occupation.
Beginning in 2005, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued quarterly reports on human rights in Iraq. They included details of U.S. air strikes that killed civilians, and UNAMI called on U.S. authorities to fully investigate these incidents. A UNAMI human rights report published in October 2007 demanded, “that all credible allegations of unlawful killings by MNF (multi-national force) forces be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action taken against military personnel found to have used excessive or indiscriminate force.”
The UN human rights report included a reminder to U.S. military commanders that, “Customary international humanitarian law demands that, as much as possible, military objectives must not be located within areas densely populated by civilians. The presence of individual combatants among a great number of civilians does not alter the civilian nature of an area.”
But no Americans have been held criminally accountable for civilian casualties in air strikes, either in Iraq or in the more widespread bombing of occupied Afghanistan. U.S. officials dispute findings of fact and law in investigations by the UN and the Afghan government, but they accept no independent mechanism for resolving these disputes, effectively shielding themselves from accountability.
Besides simply not being informed of the extent of the U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. public has been subject to military propaganda about the accuracy and effectiveness of “precision” weapons. When military forces detonate tens of thousands of powerful bombs and missiles in a country, even highly accurate weapons are bound to kill many innocent people. When we are talking about 33,000 bombs and missiles exploding in Iraq, 55,000 in Afghanistan and 7,700 in Libya, it is critical to understand just how accurate or inaccurate these weapons really are. If only 10 percent missed their targets, that would mean nearly 10,000 bombs and missiles blowing up something or somewhere else, killing and maiming thousands of unintended victims.
But even the latest generation of “precision” weapons is not 90 percent accurate. One of the world’s leading experts on this subject, Rob Hewson, the editor of the military journal Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the 19,948 precision weapons used in the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq in 2003 completely missed their targets. The other 9,251 bombs and missiles were not classified as “precision” weapons in the first place, so that only about 56 percent of the total 29,199 “shock and awe” weapons actually performed with “precision” by the military’s own standards. And those standards define precision for most of these weapons only as striking within a 29 foot radius of the target.
To an expert like Rob Hewson who understood the real-world effects of these weapons, “shock and awe” presented an ethical and legal problem to which American military spokespeople and journalists seemed oblivious. As he told the Associated Press, “In a war that’s being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi people, you can’t afford to kill any of them. But you can’t drop bombs and not kill people. There’s a real dichotomy in all of this.” 

The actual results of U.S. air strikes were better documented in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Epidemiological studies in Iraq bore out Hewson’s assessment, finding that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. air strikes. The first major epidemiological study conducted in Iraq after 18 months of war and occupation concluded:

Violent deaths were widespread … and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children … Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.

When the same team from Johns Hopkins and Baghdad’s Al Mustansariya University did a more extensive study in Iraq in 2006 after three years of war and occupation, it found that, amidst the proliferation of all kinds of violence, U.S. air strikes by then accounted for a smaller share of total deaths, except in one crucial respect: they still accounted for half of all violent deaths of children in Iraq.
No such studies have been conducted in Afghanistan, but hundreds of thousands of Afghans now living in refugee camps tell of homes and villages destroyed by U.S. air strikes and of family members killed in the bombing. There is no evidence that the pattern of bombing casualties in Afghanistan has been any kinder to children and other innocents than in Iraq. Impossibly low figures on civilian casualties published by the U.N. mission in Afghanistan are the result of small numbers of completed investigations, not comprehensive surveys. They therefore give a misleading impression, which is then amplified by wishful and uncritical Western news reports.
When the UN identified only 80 civilians killed in U.S. Special Forces night raids in 2010, Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, who worked on the UN report, explained that this was based on completed investigations of only 13 of the 73 incidents reported to the UN for the year. He estimated the number of civilians killed in all 73 incidents at 420. But most U.S. air strikes and special forces raids occur in resistance-held areas where people have no contact with the UN or the Human Rights Commission. So even thorough and complete UN investigations in the areas it has access to would only document a fraction of total Afghan civilian casualties. Western journalists who report UN civilian casualty figures from Afghanistan as if they were estimates of total casualties unwittingly contribute to a propaganda narrative that dramatically understates the scale of violence raining down from the skies on the people of Afghanistan.
President Obama and the politicians and media who keep the scale, destructiveness and indiscriminate nature of U.S. air strikes shrouded in silence understand only too well that the American public has in no way approved this shameful and endless tsunami of violence against people in other countries. Day after day for 11 years, U.S. air strikes have conclusively answered the familiar question of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?” As Congressmember Barbara Lee warned in 2001, we have “become the evil we deplore.” It is time to change course. Ending the daily routine of deadly U.S. air strikes, including but by no means limited to drone strikes, should be President Obama’s most urgent national security priority as he begins his second term in office.

Video: Cop Tickets Man For Pointing Out He’s In The Wrong


After a YouTube video of an LAPD officer pulling over and ticketing a bicyclist with little cause on the Venice Beach bike path went viral, the ticket was canceled and the officer’s conduct is under investigation.

In the 10-minute clip, a cyclist turns on his helmet camera and records the interaction, which drew a handful of onlookers who protested that the cyclist had done nothing wrong and that the officer needed to address serious crime in Venice.

The bicyclist, who identifies himself at 34-year-old Chris Jackson of Venice, was posted after Thanksgiving weekend, when he was ticketed for speeding after telling a motorcycle officer was blocking the popular bike-only path.

US assassination drone kills 5 in northeastern Afghanistan

US assassination drone hovering over Pakistani air space. (File photo)

(PressTV) -At least five civilians have been killed in a US assassination drone strike carried out in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar, Press TV reports.

Villagers say all the victims were civilians and had no links to any militant group.

Kunar which is located near the border with Pakistan has been the scene of frequent US assassination drone attacks.

Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are al-Qaeda militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks over the past few years.

The United States also carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of about 100,000 US-led troops.

UN report exposes torture of Afghan detainees


(RT) -A new UN report has exposed cases of vicious torture of Afghan detainees, including beatings, hanging by the wrists and electric shocks. Many were handed over to authorities by foreign troops, despite numerous concerns about their previous treatment.

­A United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report released on Sunday underlined the abuse of ‘conflict-related detainees’ across 89 detention facilities in 30 provinces from October 2011 to October 2012, many of whom have been relocated to multiple Afghan detention camps by foreign governments.

Extensive interviews revealed that 326 – more than half – of the 635 detainees consulted had experienced ‘ill-treatment and torture’. The interviews also revealed that torture was still a systemic problem in the prisons, and that incidents of torture in Afghan National Police facilities have actually increased over the past year.

Those who suffered at the hands of authorities revealed their shocking firsthand experiences to interviewers, with 105 of the cases involving those classified as children under international law.

One detainee from Farah, western Afghanistan, reported to the UN that he was laid on the ground, as two individuals sat on his feet and head. The third took a pipe, and started beating him with it, saying “you are with Taliban and this is what you deserve.”

A 16-year-old boy gave a harrowing account to UNAMA, saying that “if I did not confess that I am a Taliban member, then the last resort would be pulling down my trousers and pushing a bottle into my anus… He asked the other interrogator to bring the bottle and then pull my trousers down…I realized that I could not do anything else except to accept what the interrogators wanted me to admit.”

Another spoke to interviewers of how he was handcuffed behind his back: “…fabric was very tightly around and under my arms and [they] suspended me from a mulberry tree. They did this for long periods of time until I would lose consciousness. This happened every night for six days or so… Around three times a foreign delegation, composed of American military, I think, came to check the Hawza, but each time they came I was hidden.”

There were further accounts of detainees being hung from the ceiling by their wrists, beaten with objects such as wooden sticks, cables and rifle butts, being shocked with electricity until they passed out, their genitals being twisted and beaten, and death threats.

Many of the accused detainees who end up in Afghan custody are captured by US and allied troops. Overall, 79 out of the 635 captives surveyed had been captured initially by international military forces or foreign government intelligence agencies, occasionally working alongside the Afghan forces. Of these, 25 had been subjected to torture.

In October 2011, NATO temporarily halted the transfer of prisoners to the facilities amid reports that detainees had been beaten with rubber hoses and hung from hooks. However, this was a temporary measure, and NATO transfers resumed in February 2012 to 12 of the 16 detention centers at which routine abuse was reported.

UNAMA Director of Human Rights Georgette Gagnon criticized the lack of investigation into the matter, saying that there were “no prosecutions for those responsible.”

Of the 635 prisoners interviewed, 552 had been convicted of offenses related to the Afghan war; 19 of those convicted had no knowledge of the specific crime for which they had been detained.

The treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan has been an ongoing source of concern. In 2002, intense controversy erupted over abuse at the US-run Parwan Detention Facility (DFIP) following the deaths of two prisoners at the hands of American soldiers. However, a footnote in the report stated that UNAMA did not visit the DFIP or the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan, so these facilities were not included in UNAMA’s sample and detention observations. The reasoning behind this exclusion was not given.

UN investigators were also informed of the alleged existence of numerous unofficial detention sites, hidden facilities which were not accounted for by international observers. Although these allegations were denied by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the UNAMA report described the accounts as “credible.” Additionally, the UNAMA received credible reports of the suspected disappearance of 81 individuals taken into Afghan National Police custody from September 2011 to October 2012.

The Afghan government’s internal monitoring committee called the allegations of torture “untrue and thus disproved.” The UNAMA conceded that some interviewees may have falsified accounts, and said it exercised discretion in its report.

American Hypocrisy and Idiocracy in violence- Sold by the media bought up by the general public



(CAV News) – When the big bad Federal government and the darlings of corporate media want something discussed, then we discuss it. I’ve come to this conclusion years ago in my teenager days. Why it’s taking some so long to figure that out is beyond me.

This couldn’t be any more true than what happened after the horrific incident at Sandy Hook.

On our Facebook page we posted a few items about the hypocrisy surrounding the government and corporate media in regards to policy. Of course, this was met with quite a few comments such as, ” stop pushing your agenda during a tragedy,” “not now, too soon,” and the ever so popular comment, when someone disagrees, “I’m unliking your page.”

So what was ticking off these people who actually came to like things we touch upon everyday? Idiocracy and hypocrisy and more specifically, UAV strikes a.k.a drone strikes that kill children… just not our children.

That’s right killing children and innocent others in Yemen or Pakistan, is ok.  But I don’t think people really feel that way. I think the government and the media feel that way. I think people are a product of what they see and hear. Do you see FOX, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, or ABC showing you the horrific acts of violence to the children of Yemen? Do you see national stage pundits from both elite parties discussing whether or not this is a good foreign policy to carry on?  Hardly if ever.

That’s because Americans (of course, not all) or the general public only talk about what the media and politicians wish you to know about.

If the corporate media and political elites think you should take your flu shots, well most of you do. Even if the CDC says its effective rate isn’t all that impressive. If the corporate media tells you to spend, spend, spend, and look it here at all of these deals we are getting reports on, you probably go out and spend. If the media tells you Iran is even closer than ever at launching their nuclear program, you just bought yourself a new fear and perceived enemy. Finally, if the media tells you that gun control is crucial, needs to be done, needs support, well you get behind that and support it, don’t you?

The passion the general public shares on gun control was thoughtfully executed  out by the mainstream and political elites. 

The latest survey from PEW Research Center shows that 55% of Americans favor a ban on assault – style weapons.


We all agree shooting up schools is terrible. You won’t read or hear anybody on this page contesting that. So why does the general public think we should surrender our 2nd amendment rights because of the violence a few nut jobs created, but when it comes to drones and torture… well that’s okay?

In 2009, the American public didn’t find it necessary for Congress to investigate torture tactics carried on by the Bush administration. According to CBS,  the poll said 62% of people could give two turds about the treatment of not convicted detainees but suspected detainees. Is this the same public that went balls to the wall with their demands on gun control to Congress? Are we starting to think that certain violence is okay? Doesn’t sound civilized to me.

Again in 2009, an Associated-Press survey found that just over half of Americans felt that torture was okay and at times necessary. Could this be because they are told so? Do you really think people (sane, rational) think it’s okay to torture? “Well Derek, that was three or four years ago, surely things have changed.”

“No ,you idiot they haven’t .”  Take two more pieces of evidence to show you I’m not wrong. The liberal paper, Huffington Post, conducted a poll that showed 47% Americans think torture is always justified to 41% who thought it is rarely justifiable. Even if the government hasn’t publicly justified to us who we are torturing and why. That’s because they sold you on terrorism. Which is also a huge money-making and global strategical scheme.  Lastly on torture, consider the recent success of the pro-torture film, Zero Dark Thirty. According to box office reports, the movie is a top spotter and has made an estimated $24 million dollars.


Some people will argue that UAV’s or as we simple folks call them, drones, are better for our military. I don’t disagree. Nobody gets hurt, on our side. Yet, we never consider other grey areas when it comes to the use of U.S drones against countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. Who are they targeting and why? What is the end result of these strikes? How much they cost?  How long do we need to use them?

Now if people on network pages like Facebook, asked photos to go viral of Pakistani children covered in blood because of a suspected terrorist was in the region they would probably be disturbed. However, and unfortunately, that doesn’t quite catch the eye to the general American public.  More importantly, an intelligence report based on suspicion killed a child. Yet where’s the media or public uproar? Obama keeps surrounding himself with kids and making cute statements, ‘that not another kid will be killed because of senseless violence,’  and that’s because the media gives him that venue.

Politico, another cute lefty page, released a poll that showed Americans support the use of drones. I don’t think that’s true. I think Americans support what the news anchor tells them when they report fabricated news. “Today a drone strike wiped out six terrorist suspects.” Of course, they didn’t mention the civilians and even worse they are only suspects.

Getting back to that Politico poll released last year, over 80% of Americans agree with Obama’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles against suspected terrorists and two-thirds agree that it is okay to use them on American citizens abroad.

That’s an astounding number if you believe in polls. However, the media only shows you the suspects, with a patriotic American flag in the backdrop, and pretty much makes up your mind for you that this was ok. It took out suspected terrorists. No big deal. Yeah who cares about the people who had nothing to do with any of this?

I think it looks sexier and better for the Obama administration when CNN issues a headline that reads “Civilian causalities plummet in drone strikes,” as opposed to ” over 160 children dead due to drone strikes.” You know because a child is so precious that we should just not report about it but only when it comes down to pushing forward an agenda. 

This is absurd. And what’s more absurd is if these polls are correct (I think they are), then we have become an idiocracy and hypocrisy. Not only have we become barbaric but we have fallen under the same spell that most do when an empire takes control of their people. 

Hypocrisy and Idiocracy, how much longer will it rule our country into the ground?

               Written By: Derek Wood


US marine pleads guilty to urinating on corpse of Taliban fighter in Afghanistan


YouTube video showing what is believed to be US Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban

A still from the YouTube video which showed marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Photograph: Reuters

(Guardian) -A US marine who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to urinating on the corpse of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan is likely to be demoted one rank under a plea agreement, although a military judge called for a much harsher sentence.

Staff Sergeant Edward Deptola admitted multiple charges at a court martial, including dereliction of duty for desecrating remains, posing for photographs with corpses and failing to properly supervise junior marines.

The judge, Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Hudspeth, would have sentenced him to six months confinement, a $5,000 (£3,100) fine, demotion to private and a bad-conduct discharge, but she is bound by terms of the plea agreement Deptola reached with military prosecutors. A general will review the sentence and could choose to lower it.

Deptola and another marine based at Camp Lejeune were charged last year after a video surfaced showing four marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghans in July 2011. In the video, one of the marines looks down at the bodies and says: “Have a good day, buddy.”

Deptola was sergeant for a scout sniper platoon. He admitted to the judge that he urinated on one of the three corpses and posed in the “trophy photographs.”

He said he failed to supervise the marines under him when the desecration began, even though he had been briefed that such behaviour violated a marine corps general order.

“I was in a position to stop it and I did not … I should have spoken up on the spot,” he said.

When asked by the judge why he did it, Deptola said: “I have no excuse, no reason, ma’am … it was not the correct way to handle a human casualty.”

He described the day of the incident, saying the platoon had seen heavy action and had 11 confirmed kills, including the three men who were desecrated.

Deptola said another sergeant in the platoon had been killed earlier that day by an IED, and the marines believed the heavily-armed Taliban fighters they killed could have been responsible for it.

Deptola’s defence attorney called the case a “lynching” by the media and general public for an isolated mistake by a well-regarded marine. He argued that Deptola had already been punished by the attention and by being removed from his platoon.

Other marines involved have received low sentences. Staff Sergeant Joseph Chamblin pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. Under a deal reached before his court martial, he lost $500 in pay and was reduced in rank to sergeant. Three other marines were given administrative punishments for their roles.

The urination video surfaced on YouTube around the same time as other incidents that infuriated many Afghans. American troops were caught up in controversies over burning Muslim holy books, posing for photos with insurgents’ bloodied remains and an alleged massacre of 16 Afghan villagers

Pentagon Swears It Won’t Sell Killer Drones to Afghanistan, Just Spy Ones


(Wired) -Yesterday, when Afghan president Hamid Karzai boasted that the U.S. was about to give him his own fleet of drones, you may have been tempted to see the mercurial leader with his hand on the joystick of an armed Predator. Please disabuse yourself of that notion. The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that it’s in talks to sell the Afghans drones. But the drones will be tiny, low-flying, and unarmed.

The Defense Department is currently negotiating with the Afghan government to sell it military helicopters, airlift transport planes and other hardware. That weapons package “does include unmanned systems,” Lt. Cmdr. William Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman, tells Danger Room.

But don’t expect the Afghans to suddenly get Predators — or anything like them. The iconic armed American drone can stay aloft for an entire day until it takes out a suspected militant with a Hellfire missile. The Afghans will likely get the Raven, a four-pound, hand-launched surveillance drone that can fly for an hour or so. The U.S. Army alone has over 5,300 unarmed Ravens at last count. Replace the high-end infrared camera with something more modest, and you buy something awfully similar yourself for a couple hundred bucks.

The possible drone sale came up during discussions at the Pentagon last week between Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and President Karzai. Upon returning to Afghanistan, Karzai told a press conference that the U.S. would soon supply the Afghan security forces with the unarmed drones. “They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them,” Karzai said on Monday, per The New York Times.


Karzai is slightly ahead of the Pentagon. There’s no finalized deal for the drone fleet. The Pentagon is still talking with the Afghans about how many small spy drones it’s willing to sell the Afghans. Nor do Pentagon officials have a sense of when they’ll finalize a deal for the weapons sales. Apparently the drones are not the highest priorities for either military in the forthcoming arms deal: transport aircraft are. Drones were not part of the Afghans’ “wish list” for weapons purchases, first reported last month by The Wall Street Journal.

Ravens are among the easier drones to operate. Unlike Predators or Reapers, which require giant refrigerated boxes to house their remote pilots and all the hardware needed to fly them, Raven operators stare into a kind of viewfinder-type doohickey to fly the drones one way or another and see what the camera picks up. (Here’s a video demonstrating it.) It’s much less complicated than flying a helicopter.

There’s some sleight of hand about the degree to which the impending deal can be called a weapons purchase. After all, the U.S. bankrolls the Afghan National Security Forces: The Obama administration asked for $5.7 billion for the Afghans in the defense bill that Congress still hasn’t finished. In a sense, the U.S. would be handing the Afghans money to buy its drones, making it more of a weapons transfer than a sale.

Semantics aside, the likely transfer/sale means that Afghanistan’s skies won’t be free of drones after the U.S. completes its handover of security to the Afghan military in 2014. Afghanistan is already the epicenter of the U.S.’ drone wars: Air Force statistics released Monday record 504 drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2012, vastly more than the 43 fired into neighboring Pakistan last year. (Chances are, if U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan after 2014, so will their drones, especially to continue striking Pakistan.) Afghanistan’s future drone fleet won’t be nearly as deadly, but Afghans will still be watched from the skies.

Biggest irony of all of the impending sale: Should the Taliban actually negotiate a deal with Karzai’s government to end the war, the Taliban might gain access to the small drones that its U.S. adversaries used to spy on them.

General Stanley McChrystal questions US drone warfare

(Digital Journal) -Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all American forces in Afghanistan, has questioned the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
McChrystal, 58, acknowledged that drones cause seething hatred of the United States and cautioned that their overuse could threaten US strategic objectives in the ongoing terror war.


“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world,” McChrystal told Reuters. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”


McChrystal, the architect of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, added that drones fuel a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘We can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”


Drones are a tool that should be used as part of a wider strategy, the former general said, and if their use creates more problems than it solves, Washington should reevaluate the situation.


Drone strikes, which terrorize populations subjected to them, have indeed stoked widespread anti-Americanism in the countries where they occur– Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia– as well as around the world. Three-quarters of Pakistanis, for example, consider the United States an “enemy.” Drones, which Pakistanis rightfully claim are a violation of their sovereignty, are a big part of the reason why.


Perceived American disregard for the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by drone strikes also infuriates many people in affected countries. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, up to 80 percent of those killed by drones are civilians, and the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that as many as 1,117 civilians, including up to 214 children, have been killed by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.


Last October, the United Nations announced that it would investigate US drone strikes that killed Pakistani civilians as possible war crimes.


Still, the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up its drone program since taking over from Bush in 2009. Recently, the use of drones has increased significantly in Yemen, where there were more drone attacks in 2012 than there were in Pakistan.


Obama’s newly-chosen CIA director, John Brennan, is particularly controversial, both because he is the architect of the US drone war and because he has repeatedly lied about civilian drone deaths and the anti-Americanism they breed.

Judge: Army GI in WikiLeaks illegally punished


(AP) -An Army private suspected of sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website was illegally punished at a Marine Corps brig and should get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he receives if convicted, a military judge ruled Tuesday.

Army Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing that authorities went too far in their strict confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning for nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., in 2010 and 2011. Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials said it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.

Lind said Manning’s confinement was “more rigorous than necessary.” She added that the conditions “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars. His trial begins March 6.

The 25-year-old intelligence analyst had sought to have the charges thrown out, arguing the conditions were egregious. Military prosecutors had recommended a seven-day sentence reduction, conceding Manning was improperly kept for that length of time on highly restrictive suicide watch, contrary to a psychiatrist’s recommendation.

Lind rejected a defense contention that brig commanders were influenced by higher-ranking Marine Corps officials at Quantico or the Pentagon.

Manning showed no reaction as Lind read her decision. He fidgeted when the judge took the bench to announce her ruling, sometimes tapping his chin or mouth with a pen and frequently glancing at his attorney’s notepad, but those movements tapered off during the hour and 45 minutes it took the judge to read the lengthy opinion.

Mike McKee, one of about a dozen Manning supporters in the courtroom, said he was disappointed. He called the ruling “very conservative,” although he said he didn’t expect the charges to be thrown out.

“I don’t find it a victory,” McKee said. “Credit like that becomes much less valuable if the sentence turns out to be 80 years.”

Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network, which is funding Manning’s defense, said the sentencing credit “doesn’t come close to compensating Bradley” for his harsh treatment.

“The ruling is not strong enough to give the military pause before mistreating the next American soldier awaiting trial,” Paterson wrote in an email.

Lind ruled on the first day of a scheduled four-day hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore.

The hearing is partly to determine whether Manning’s motivation matters. Prosecutors want the judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. They say motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked intelligence, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida

Manning allegedly told an online confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the material because “I want people to see the truth” and “information should be free.”

Defense attorney David Coombs said Tuesday that barring such evidence would cripple the defense’s ability to argue that Manning leaked only information that he believed couldn’t hurt the United States or help a foreign nation.

Manning has offered to take responsibility for the leaks in a pending plea offer but he still could face trial on charges such as aiding the enemy.

The Crescent, Okla., native is accused of leaking classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. He is also charged with leaking 2007 video of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.

Manning supporters consider him a whistleblower whose actions exposed war crimes and helped trigger the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings in late 2010.

Pentagon quietly reimburses $688 million to Pakistan



(GEOTV) -The Pentagon quietly notified Congress this month that it would reimburse Pakistan nearly $700 million for the cost of stationing 140,000 troops on the border with Afghanistan, an effort to normalise support for the Pakistani military after nearly two years of crises and mutual retaliation, The New York Times reported.

According to the report, the United States also provides about $2 billion in annual security assistance, roughly half of which goes to reimburse Pakistan for conducting military operations to fight terrorism.

Until now, many of these reimbursements, called coalition support funds, have been held up, in part because of disputes with Pakistan over the Bin Laden raid, the operations of the CIA, and its decision to block supply lines into Afghanistan last year

. The $688 million payment – the first since this summer, covering food, ammunition and other expenses from June through November 2011 – has caused barely a ripple of protest since it was sent to Capitol Hill on Dec 7.

The absence of a reaction, American and Pakistani officials say, underscores how relations between the two countries have been gradually thawing since Pakistan reopened the NATO supply routes in July after an apology from the Obama administration for an errant American airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

U.S. Gov’t Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Cases of Americans Killed by Drones



(Activist Post) – As Americans mourn the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown, CT tragedy – and the gun control debate has reached a fever pitch – autonomous killing systems are being funded by American taxpayers, and drone strikes continue to kill an increasing number of civilians abroad.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government policy makers have shown an incredible level of hypocrisy before; on the one hand lamenting such senseless deaths as have occurred in “mass shootings” while conducting their own mass killing, torture, and terror campaigns in foreign lands.

A culture of violence can’t have it both ways, though, and the welcoming of drones into American skies by Congress is sure to unleash physical havoc shortly after concerns over surveillance and privacy are dismissed.

As a clear sign of what can be expected, the U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the families of three Americans killed by drone strikes in Yemen. If federal courts rule that these cases are without merit, it will set a dangerous precedent that only the executive branch of government can decide which Americans have a constitutional right to due process, while further enhancing a framework where the government will decide who is fit to be mourned and who should be forgotten

US present in Afghanistan to develop, control drug trade: Iran MP

A US soldier passes by a poppy field in Marjah, Afghanistan (file photo).

 (PressTV) An Iranian lawmaker says the United States seeks long-term presence in the war-torn Afghanistan in order to control drug trafficking in that country.

“The US seeks long-term presence in Afghanistan with the aim of controlling drug trafficking,” Mohammad-Hassan Asafari, member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Saturday.

He added that the US has been deploying forces to Afghanistan for a decade to allegedly bring democracy and peace to the Afghans, but the US military presence has only brought insecurity and tension to the war-ravaged country.

Asafari stated that the US has sent its troops thousands of kilometers away to Afghanistan with the sole goal of taking drug cultivation, production and trafficking under its control.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still grappling with insecurity.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a recent report that narcotics production and drug smuggling have increased in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

The office added that some 95 percent of the drugs are cultivated in the southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan which are mainly controlled by American and British forces.