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. On Obama’s campaign, he announced that as President, he would scale down the war in Iraq, and focus the “War on Terror” on Afghanistan, promising “to send in about 10,000 more troops and to strike next-door Pakistan, if top terrorists are spotted there.”
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.
Seven years ago, angered over the mainstream media’s flawed portrayal of the Iraq War, independent journalist Dahr Jamail took it upon himself to report from the front lines of the conflict. As one of the very few unembedded journalists dispatching from Iraq, Jamail cruised the streets of cities and villages with a local interpreter, a beat-up car and a penchant for depicting the conflict for what it really was: an illegal and brutal occupation, vanguarded by the US Empire and its corporate collaborators.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dahr Jamail pulled a degree in Speech Communications from Texas A&M University. Before his stretch in Iraq, Jamail’s post-college travels brought him around the world, from Chile to Pakistan, Mexico to Nepal, to climbing Denali in 1996 where he decided to be a mountain guide shortly thereafter.
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.
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.
Naomi Wolf discusses the fascist shift in the United States, how the state of our liberties has been getting worse under the Obama administration, and how President Obama has assumed the same position as Bush on States Secrets Privilege, unlawful detention and torture, and other similar assaults on our liberties. Ms. Wolf talks about the deplorable state of our two-party system and alternative approaches, the hypocritical silence of liberal antiwar activists, the need for new grassroots institutions and approaches to take back our civil liberties, and more.