2009 in Perspective: Glenn Greenwald on the Five Wars US Is Fighting in Muslim Countries
As 2009 comes to a close, today we begin by taking a step back and putting this year of war in perspective. Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses US foreign policy, including the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes on Pakistan, cruise missile attacks on Yemen, operations in Somalia, the ongoing operation in Iraq, and much more. [includes rush transcript]
January 1 will usher in the last year of the first decade of a new millennium and ten consecutive years of the United States conducting war in the Greater Middle East.
Beginning with the October 7, 2001 missile and bomb attacks on Afghanistan, American combat operations abroad have not ceased for a year, a month, a week or a day in the 21st century.
The Afghan war, the U.S.’s first air and ground conflict in Asia since the disastrous wars in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s and early 1970s and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s first land war and Asian campaign, began during the end of the 2001 war in Macedonia launched from NATO-occupied Kosovo, one in which the role of U.S. military personnel is still to be properly exposed  and addressed and which led to the displacement of almost 10 percent of the nation’s population.
The weekend before Christmas, 12 prisoners were released from Guantánamo. In two previous articles, I told the stories of six of these men — two Somalis and four Afghans — and in this final article I look at the stories of the six Yemenis who were also released. These releases were enormously important, because Yemenis make up nearly half of the remaining 198 prisoners in Guantánamo, and until these six men were repatriated, only 16 Yemenis had been freed from Guantánamo throughout the prison’s long history.
Back in October, when the Obama administration’s interagency Task Force announced that it had cleared 75 prisoners for release — and explained that this figure included 26 Yemenis — I took exception to the administration’s unwillingness to release any of the Yemenis. This was revealed in the case of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a Yemeni whose release had been ordered in May by a District Court judge, who had granted his habeas corpus petition. Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the government had based its case on unreliable allegations made by other prisoners who were tortured, coerced, bribed or suffering from mental health issues, and a “mosaic” of intelligence, purporting to rise to the level of evidence, which actually relied, to an intolerable degree, on second- or third-hand hearsay, guilt by association and unsupportable suppositions.
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers flew kites
for the people of Gaza
photo by Hakim
At about 1pm Afghanistan time ( 10.30 am Gaza time when the planned Gaza Freedom March was supposed to begin ) on the 31st of December 2009, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers had a tele-conference with these friends (the conversation with Baseem and Yaniv was short but priceless).
USA Douglas Mackey, Jody Tiller, Cindy Corrie, Josh Steiber, Margo, Andrea Le Blanc, Al
In the telephone conversation, we encountered the human souls in each other through our voices and we encouraged each other towards peace and those beautiful and important things in the hearts of all humanity. Thanks to all!
Rachel Maddow – questioning during KSM’s torture 1/2
Rachel reveals that the questioning of KSM was “focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link… there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
US intelligence sources have confirmed Iran’s assertions that a document published by a British daily about Tehran’s nuclear program is a fabrication.
According to a former CIA official, US intelligence agents have found that the document, which was published by the Times of London on December 14, was fabricated by Israel or Britain, the Inter Press Service (IPS) reported on Monday.
The Star Power of Chicago: A President, a Chief of Staff, a Governor, a Mayor, a Criminal Convict Creamer, a Dumb or Charlatan Congresswoman, a Political Fundraiser, a Political System Termite…What a Play this would make!
Chicago’s governing style and practices have been consistently characterized as criminal and corrupt since the days of the prohibition-era gangster, Al Capone. Last year Daniel Elgber wrote an interesting piece on this same topic titled ‘Why is Chicago so Corrupt?’
Elgber then goes on to provide some context, historical background, and past parallels with other cities. He points to a few possible factors behind this windy city’s continuous struggle with chronic political corruption: Continue reading →
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate called Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”
Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions and diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which America has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”
The following blog post by Jane Hamsher Founder & Publisher – firedoglake.com appeared today, December 30, 2009:
If the White House thought they could slip the bailout of Fannie and Freddie through by announcing it in a Christmas Eve news dump, think again. Dennis Kucinich just released this statement:
“As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I’m announcing that the Subcommittee will launch an investigation into the Treasury Department’s recent decision to lift the current $400-billion cap on combined federal assistance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opening the way for additional, unlimited funds through the end of 2012. This investigation will include the role played by Fannie Mae chief executive Michael J. Williams and Freddie Mac chief executive Charles E. Haldeman in the decision, if any, and will seek to ensure that the additional assistance is used for homeowners and not Wall Street.”
In a press conference conducted earlier this evening, the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced some threats, warnings, surprises as well as some good news. The press conference that aired on Egyptian official TV a few hours ago was boiling with Aboul Gheit’s very firm and angry answers to the journalists’ questions who did not spare him a topic. They asked about the peace process, Hamas, Rafah tunnels and the Iron Wall besides the questions about the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina.
To my surprise, it seems that the mainstream media are so far ignoring this press conference and no one has published any of the surprises or the good news which he carried for the Gaza Freedom March and the surprise he had for Viva Palestina. Not even those directly concerned, the activists themselves. Instead, searching the mainstream media today you will only get news about Egypt’s arrest of activists in Cairo, the activist hunger strike, Viva Palestina’s redirection to Syria, and so on.
Sam Husseini is in Egypt, accompanying the “Gaza Freedom March,” which has assembled in Cairo, Egypt with hopes of visiting Gaza on the year anniversary of Israel’s bombing last January. He is writing for The Washington Stakeout.
Three days after the failed attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian student to trigger an explosion on a Northwest Airlines passenger jet, President Barack Obama threatened to unleash US military power in Yemen and across the globe.
Obama interrupted his Hawaii vacation Monday to deliver his bellicose remarks in the face of a crescendo of Republican criticism. The Republican right has tried to exploit the abortive attack in order to indict the Democratic administration as “soft” on terrorism.
In his remarks Monday, Obama justified these actions as a means of keeping the American public “safe and secure” in the face of what he termed “a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland.”
The reality is that the military actions being prepared by Washington will have just the opposite effect. If the statement attributed to the group Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula claiming responsibility is to be believed, the attempted airline bombing was undertaken in retaliation for the December 17 US bombing of Yemen that claimed the lives of more than 60 civilians, nearly half of them women and children.