The AfPak War Theatre: Establishing the New Strategy
As Senator Obama became the President-elect Obama, his foreign policy strategy on Afghanistan was already being formed. In 2007, Obama took on veteran geostrategist and Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski as one of his top foreign policy advisers, and he remained his foreign policy adviser throughout 2008. Continue reading →
Sunday night when I learned of the death of Osama Bin Laden I did not feel elated, I did not hop on the #1 subway and head to ground zero, nor did I celebrate in the streets, drink champagne or chant USA, USA, USA! Honestly, I wish he’d been brought in alive and put on trial like we did at Nuremberg. I’d like to hear what he had to say and expose him for who and what he was. I prefer justice to murder or assassination. So instead of reveling in his demise I took a moment to reflect on what this has cost our country and our souls.
Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan, Straining U.S.-Pakistani Relations
U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for the murder of two men was a CIA agent and a former employee of the private security firm Blackwater, now called Xe Services. Up until Monday, the Obama administration had insisted Raymond Davis was a diplomat who had acted in self-defense. The arrest of Davis has soured relations between the United States and Pakistan and revealed a web of covert U.S. operations inside the country, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A. The Guardian of London first reported Davis’s CIA link on Sunday and noted that many U.S. news outlets knew about his connection to the CIA but did not report on it at the request of U.S. officials. We speak with Declan Walsh, the Pakistan correspondent for The Guardian, who first broke the story. [includes rush transcript]
The US has threatened to cut off a multi-billion-dollar aid package to Pakistan if an American diplomat being held on murder charges is not immediately released from custody.
The case has sparked widespread public fury across Pakistan, with accusations that it is yet another example of American personnel having a “licence to kill” in their country. Also, the rapid diplomatic intervention by senior US officials in the case, which has now raised the threat of immediate suspension of aid from Washington to Islamabad, is in stark contrast to the refusal by the US government to cut off similar aid flows to the Mubarak regime in Egypt where more than 300 civilians in pro-democracy protests have been killed by state forces.
The United States’ use of mercenaries is unprecedented in scope for a major power in modern times, and further weakens a decaying empire. Unable to defeat the resistance in two of the poorest nations on the planet, America increasingly depends on high-paid killers-for-profit to man the battlements. In Iraq, where the U.S. is reluctantly making an exit, “President Obama plans to substitute outgoing U.S. troops with mercenaries.” The same may happen, soon, in Afghanistan.
It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint – revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat.
Over the past ten weeks, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Al Jazeera has read tens of thousands of documents, which we sourced through WikiLeaks.
There is a good reason that Washington did not want you to see them. They reveal the covering up of Iraqi state torture to the truth about the hundreds of civilians who have been killed at coalition road blocks.
There are fresh outrages involving private security contractors and we find out what the US really thinks about the Iraqi prime minister.
End of Iraq Combat Operations or Beginning of Downsized, Rebranded Occupation Relying Heavily on Private Military Contractors?
President Obama said Monday in a speech before the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Atlanta that the US military is on target to withdraw all its combat troops from Iraq by the end of August. We speak with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, who says this instead marks the beginning of a downsized and rebranded occupation that will rely heavily on private military forces. [includes rush transcript]
June 15, 2010 — In the wake of a rumor that WikiLeaks may soon publish a number of secret State Department cables, some are saying that the Pentagon is on the hunt for the whistleblowing organization’s founder Julian Assange. On GRITtv with Laura Flanders, Nation writer and blogger Jeremy Scahill says that while Assange may not exactly be on the run to the extent that is being portrayed, diplomats have reason to be concerned about what Wikileaks may have in its possession. “I think a lot of diplomats around the world are very, very nervous. At a minimum, they’re going to want to talk to Julian Assange,” Scahill says. “He denies that he has them [the cables], by the way.”
In addition to discussions of a potential secret prison and interrogation facility within the Bagram Air Base and the New York Times’s coverage of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, Scahill and Flanders talk about Erik Prince and rumors that Blackwater, his controversial private military company, is for sale. “There are rumors that he [Prince] may be the target of an investigation,” Scahill says. “If you’re on the market for a private army, you could probably buy cheap and buy fast if you’re interested.
EXCLUSIVE…Secret Recording of Erik Prince Reveals Previously Undisclosed Blackwater Ops
Investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill obtains a rare audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater, to a friendly audience in January. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. In a Democracy Now! exclusive broadcast we play excerpts of the recording and speak with Scahill about the revelations. [Includes rush transcript]
Jeremy Scahill, award-winning independent journalist, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and the author of the international bestseller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” His article, Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed is published on his new blog for TheNation.com.
We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares.
Washington D.C. (February 26, 2010) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives voted 235 to 168 to pass the Intelligence Authorization Act:
“I strongly support the dedicated public servants of our intelligence community. Their work to ensure our national security is to be commended. However, I must oppose the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010.
“This legislation contains provisions that implement vital measures of accountability, such as a provision to prohibit the use of funds for payment to any contractor to conduct interrogations of detainees currently in custody. I also support the provision in this legislation to establish an independent Intelligence Community-wide Inspector General. These provisions are an important step to ensure that mechanisms of accountability and oversight are in place. However, I remain concerned that some of the methods being employed by our intelligence community may amount to serious violations of international law and our Constitution.
Despite the U.S government massively increasing spending on its own war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, private security contractors are still flourishing, even though their reputations are at an all-time low. RT’s Dina Gusovsky spoke to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky – who fears the private firms have an even greater capacity to wage war, than America itself.
Peter Dale Scott: The President does not choose the mindset, it chooses the people who become President
Peter Dale Scott a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).