Google+ Badge

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

U.S. Slaughter in Afghanistan Rages On

Obama's lies exposed

GLOBAL RESEARCH
By Bill Van Auken
02/24/2014

Less than two months after President Barack Obama announced an end to US combat operations in Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials have made it clear that these murderous operations are not only continuing, they are escalating, while plans for the withdrawal of American troops are being reconsidered.

At the end of last year, the American president declared that “the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.” He added that the drawdown of US forces marked “a milestone for our country.”


But the war in Afghanistan rages on, with mounting evidence that more than 13 years of US military occupation—dubbed “Operation Enduring Freedom”—have produced only a debacle for US foreign policy and a humanitarian catastrophe for the impoverished Afghan population.

The longest war in US history has claimed the lives of 2,356 American troops and left another 20,066 wounded, the vast majority of these casualties having taken place during the administration of Barack Obama. 


The current president promoted the intervention in Afghanistan as the “good war” and more than tripled the number of US soldiers and Marines fighting it. The cost to the US economy is estimated at somewhere between $750 billion and several trillion dollars.

In his speech last December, Obama claimed that 13 years of US war and occupation had succeeded in “devastating the core Al Qaeda leadership, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.” They had as well “helped the Afghan people reclaim their communities” and “take the lead for their own security.”

This glowing assessment was given a different spin last week when newly installed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that Washington wanted to make sure that “the Afghans themselves are able to preserve the environment which our forces have created over the last few years—one of relative security and stability.” As a result, he said, Washington was “rethinking” its “counterterrorism” operations, as well as its stated troop withdrawal timetable.


Carter’s talk of “relative security and stability” is hogwash. All indications are that the US puppet regime in Kabul is confronting a catastrophe, and that its patrons in Washington are convinced that only an escalation of the slaughter can reverse ever more threatening trends and prevent a Vietnam-style rout.


There are presently some 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan, along with an estimated 20,000 military contractors and several hundred CIA operatives. While Obama claims to have ended US combat operations in the country, his administration has ordered a sharp increase in night assassination raids by American special forces troops against Afghan villages, as well as stepped-up aerial bombardments of suspected insurgent targets.

Both tactics aroused intense popular hostility and were formally proscribed by former President Hamid Karzai. They have received support, however, from his successor, Ashraf Ghani, who is increasingly desperate in the face of a rising offensive by anti-regime forces.




The military escalation has exacted a brutal toll upon the Afghan civilian population. The United Nations agency for Afghanistan documented 10,548 civilian casualties last year (3,699 deaths and 6,849 injuries). This represents a 25 percent increase in the number of fatalities over the previous year and the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries since the UN began systematically recording casualties in 2009.

There are mounting signs that the US-armed and trained Afghan security forces are in a state of disintegration. The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction (SIGAR) last month quoted Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the then-commander of the US-led occupation forces, as stating that the level of casualties suffered by the Afghan forces (more than 5,000 Afghan soldiers and police were killed in 2014 alone) was “not sustainable,” nor, for that matter, was their desertion rate.


The clearest indication of the dire condition of the Afghan National Army and police was the recent decision by the Pentagon and NATO to classify all information on their combat capabilities as secret, after years of publicly releasing such data.

The economic and social situation confronting the country is, if anything, even more desperate. 


Afghanistan ranks 215th in the world in terms of per capita income, with close to half of the population living in dire poverty. The economy has begun to contract along with the decline in the US military presence and the level of foreign aid, the main sources of revenue.

Figures given out by US agencies boasting of dramatic strides in life expectancy, education and other indices have all been called into question by international agencies, with the numbers from Washington representing little more than war propaganda.

As opposed to the fraudulent claims of progress made by the White House and the Pentagon, polls have shown that a broad majority of the American public believes the Afghanistan war was not worth waging, while just 23 percent of the US soldiers who fought there believe their campaign was successful.




The turn by the Obama administration to an escalation of military operations in Afghanistan is driven by the same predatory geostrategic interests that led to the US invasion and occupation in the first place. These were based not on concerns about terrorism, but rather the desire to assert US hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Caspian Basin and Central Asia and position the US military closer to the borders of both Russia and China.

Within the US ruling establishment, there are growing fears that a precipitous US withdrawal will create a vacuum that will be filled by Beijing and Moscow.

The “rethinking” of US combat operations in Afghanistan is taking place amid escalating US military interventions on a world scale. Washington has announced plans for a major US-led offensive against Mosul, an Iraqi city of 1.5 million, as it continues aerial bombardments in both Iraq and Syria. Almost simultaneously, it joined Turkey in announcing plans to train thousands of Syrian “rebels” to be unleashed nominally against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but also in a war for regime change in Syria.




In Ukraine, Washington is escalating its provocations against Moscow. The new US defense secretary has signaled his support for arming the Ukrainian regime in a war that could bring the US into direct confrontation with a nuclear-armed Russia.

At the same time, the US Navy has unveiled plans to deploy four littoral combat ships—designed for combat in coastal areas—in northeast Asia as part of the “pivot to Asia,” which includes plans to shift 60 percent of US naval assets to the region in order to confront the rise of China.




As Leon Trotsky wrote in the run-up to the Second World War, while Nazi Germany was driven to “organize” Europe, US imperialism “must ‘organize’ the world.”

“History,” he warned, “is bringing humanity face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism.”

This prognosis is being powerfully confirmed in the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the threat of military confrontation with Russia and China. The prospect of a third—nuclear—world war can be countered only by the international working class mobilizing itself as an independent revolutionary force against imperialist war and its source, the capitalist system.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

EDITORIAL : Fourth Estate In America DOA

Brian Williams, Bill O'Reilly sagas epitomise everything that is wrong with today's corporate media  

THE 5TH ESTATE
By Robert S. Finnegan
02/25/2015

It is an extremely rare event when The 5th Estate deems it necessary to editorialise on events dominating the news coverage in America, however the recent exposure of two news "icons" for reportage embellishments require a closer look at the rot that is now prevalent in the corporate "mainstream media" and the impact on how news reporting is defined and disseminated for public consumption.


Recently, CBS anchor Brian Williams was called out for making false statements regarding his reporting on the Iraq war, and was rightfully suspended.  Why this already successful and respected journalist chose to tarnish his reputation in this unnecessary manner remains a mystery. As Williams is one of the highest paid journalists in America the issue of money is doubtful.  


Was it simply an egotistical grasping for greater glory? Whatever the answer is it will most likely remain known only to Williams himself.

The problems began for Fox News editorialist Bill O'Reilly when he hypocritically - and quite unnecessarily - piled further abuse upon Williams who had already taken a massive public drubbing by colleagues, media pundits and Veterans groups, the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.  


The now-disgraced Bill O'Reilly; greed, shameless-self 
promotion, bogus BS finally catches up with filthy rich
Fox News hack
O'Reilly obviously and quite mistakenly through a heady and toxic mixture of a massive ego coupled with perceived omnipotence thought himself untouchable.  As today's news headlines attest to, he has turned out to be dead wrong.

O'Reilly, who has made legions of enemies during his career for his polemic, acerbic, insulting style of editorialising and "reporting" utilising specious, highly questionable "facts" is now being eviscerated in both the "mainstream" and Independent media for lying about reporting from the Falkland Islands war zone.


Both very public figures attempted - as is the now accepted form of dealing with scandals in "mainstream media" and political circles today - to shuck and jive their way out of the corners they had painted themselves into and in the process were only buried deeper into the quagmires of lies and obfuscations of their own making.


Those watching these embarrassing media spectacles were rightfully left wondering now just how they should interpret the previous reporting from both individuals, some of which was pivotal to the decisions they made on such issues as U.S. involvement in the Iraq and Afghan wars as well as other pivotal world events to include the "war on terror."

The public, who has a right to and expects honest reporting from journalists and their news bureaus must surely now be concerned following these recent revelations of "misstatements" by these individuals and once again left wondering if other scandals of
the same nature will follow.


Ed Murrow
Legendary reporter Ed Murrow would surely be left speechless at the journalistic debauchery and cults of personality that are now the norm and dominate today's "mainstream media" where news reporting has been replaced by "infotainment," bombastic propaganda and shameless self-promotion. The sole responsibility of the now dead Fourth Estate to "enlighten and inform the public" was abandoned long ago, with the corporate takeovers and consolidation of media outlets during the '80's and '90's.  The media in the United States died during this era.


If there is anything to be learned from these sordid spectacles it is that Americans must now devote more time to perusing news reports from across the spectrum, drawing information and analysis form both "mainstream" and Independent media outlets, taking nothing at face value until unequivocally verified and fact-checked.

The truth, for the perceptive and inquisitive reader, lies somewhere in the middle.


Robert S. Finnegan is a retired investigative journalist based in Jakarta Indonesia, where he resides with his spouse photographer Imas Kurniawati.

O'Reilly Said To Threaten Reporter "With Everything I Have"

In a pathetic and at times incoherent rant on his own show yesterday O'Reilly attempted to obfuscate and blow smoke over his lies about reporting from the Falklands war zone, also denouncing Independent Media correspondents covering his outing by Mother Jones Magazine as "mentally ill" and stating that the story was not being covered by the "mainstream media;" O'Reilly then goes on to suggest that "I hope we can stop it, I really do…" - well Bill, it's not going to stop, and your days of bullying, browbeating and shouting down reporters that question your lies and bogus self-promotions are now at a decisive end  

USA TODAY
By Laura Mandaro
02/25/2015

“What was happening on the Falkland Islands was a war zone. What was happening in Buenos Aires was unrest.”
- Charles Gomez, CBS

"We interviewed former colleagues of Bill O'Reilly who were in Buenos Aires at that time and other American journalists who were there and everybody is quite clear: It is incontrovertible that no American correspondent ever got to the Falklands, ever got to the war zone, when there was fighting going on. That includes Bill O'Reilly."
- David Corn, Mother Jones Magazine

"You know that I am not easily shocked. I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands." 
- Bill O'Reilly


Fox News talk show host and political commentator Bill O'Reilly threatened to retaliate against a reporter "with everything I have" if he felt her coverage of his war-time reporting was inappropriate, the reporter said.


Over the years O'Reilly has made legions
of enemies who are now calling him out
In a tweet late Monday, New York Times reporter Emily Steel said O'Reilly told her "I am coming after you with everything I have," and "You can take it as a threat."

Steel linked to a Times article that detailed O'Reilly's efforts to refute claims by the magazine Mother Jones and interviews with former journalists at CBS News that O'Reilly gave an inaccurate portrayal of his reporting experience during the Falkland Islands conflict between Argentina and Britain in 1982 while he worked at CBS News. In contrast to O'Reilly's statements in a 2001 book, he did not report from active war-zones, the Mother Jones and interviews allege.

O'Reilly has defended his account, showing footage of violent protests in Buenos Aires, and interviewing other journalists who were involved in reporting on the conflict. O'Reilly has accused journalists of engaging in a smear campaign following the suspension of NBC anchor Brian Williams over reports he trumped up his own reporting experiences.

A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company's CEO, Roger Ailes, has said he fully supports O'Reilly.

Also Monday, CBS News re-released four stories it aired about the Falklands War on June 15 and 16, 1982. O'Reilly has said that he covered riots in Buenos Aires and that he pulled an injured CBS photographer to safety.

In the CBS reports, no mention was made of anyone at CBS being injured. Dan Rather does mention that some TV crew members were shoved and knocked to the ground. And then-CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg, one of O'Reilly's most outspoken critics on the issue, reports that witnesses reported "some serious injuries."

O'Reilly attempted to put he matter to rest on his show, The O'Reilly Factor, on Monday. He showed some of the CBS footage and stood by his previous assertions that the rioting resulted in deaths. "I want to stop this now," he said of the controversy. "I hope we can stop it. I really do."



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Time Runs Out For Bali Nine Pair, Execution Imminent?

The question still remains to be addressed: where in the hell did 18 pounds of smack come from? It certainly was not grown and processed in Indonesia where anti-drug laws are now so draconian that even Tylenol #3 cannot be obtained through a prescription and terminal patients are being denied pain medication - thanks to criminals such as these AU scumbags who deserve to be shot for this reason alone   

INQUISITR
02/24/2015

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has warned foreign countries not to intervene in his government’s right to use capital punishment. According to IoL News President Joko Widodo has denied clemency to 11 convicts on death row, most on drugs charges, despite repeated pleas from Australia, Brazil and France, who all have citizens due to be executed by firing squad.


AU drug runners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
Widodo has told reporters that the executions will not be delayed after an Indonesian court dismissed a legal challenge to the execution of Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. According to Reuters Joko Widodo defended his country’s rights to use the death penalty in drug smuggling cases.

“The first thing I need to say firmly is that there shouldn’t be any intervention towards the death penalty because it is our sovereign right to exercise our law.”


Ironically Joko Widodo was accused of “double standards” last week as it was reported that he had ordered Indonesian officials to use all means possible to try to secure clemency for Indonesian citizens who are on death row elsewhere in the world. 

Widodo has repeatedly refused clemency to drug smugglers since he came to power in 2014 and has vowed that his country’s war against the smugglers would continue.


Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang, and were arrested for trying to traffic heroin out of Indonesia in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year. Gulf News states that their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict’s final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were rejected by new President Joko Widodo in recent months.


Lawyers acting for Sukumaran and Chan appealed to the Administrative Court in Jakarta to challenge Joko Widodo’s refusal to grant them clemency, but the court has today dismissed that appeal saying that “clemency is the prerogative of the president… the state administrative court has no right to rule on the challenge.”

Whilst there is a right of appeal against the courts decision it is thought the chances of success are very slim. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made repeated pleas to Joko Widodo asking for the men to be spared, but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.


AU Prime Minister Tony Abbot attempted to tie tsunami aid
to drug traffickers, outraged Indonesians responded with a
symbolic collection of "coins for Abbot"
It is not clear when the executions will take place but the Sydney Morning Herald quotes Bali’s chief prosecutor, Momock Bambang Samiarso, who has signalled the men are likely to be transferred to Nusakamabangan island this week, meaning their executions are imminent. Tensions between Australia and Indonesia have reportedly increased over the imminent executions and Joko Widodo is apparently furious that Abbott referred to the granting of $1 Billion in aid after the Boxing Day tsunami in his appeal for clemency for Sukumaran and Chan.


It seems that Joko Widodo has now extinguished all hope and the executions could take place within days.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Alaska Allows Recreational Marijuana As Legalisation Campaign Spreads

Alaska has always been at the forefront of personal freedoms - good news for medical patients

REUTERS
By Steve Quinn
02/242015

JUNEAU, Alaska - 

Smoking, growing and owning small amounts of marijuana became legal in Alaska on Tuesday, as a growing decriminalization movement reached the United States' wild northwest frontier.



The Republican-leaning state, which narrowly passed the measure in November, followed Colorado and Washington among states allowing recreational use, reflecting a rapidly shifting legal landscape for the drug.

It remains illegal, however, under federal law.

In the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Tuesday the U.S. capital would go ahead with legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and pot plants despite opposition from Congress. Voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing pot last year, but its sale is still banned.

In Alaska, anyone aged 21 or older can possess up to an ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana in Alaska and can grow up to six marijuana plants, three of which can be flowering.


Smoking in public and buying and selling the drug remains illegal, though private exchanges are allowed if money is not involved.

President Barack Obama's Department of Justice has allowed the experiments to proceed, saying it would look to prosecute a narrower range of marijuana-related crimes, such as sales to children.

But that could change if a more conservative president is elected in 2016, when Alaska's first pot shops are likely to open.

Supporters of the measure say it reflects a sense of personal freedom that resonates with residents of Alaska, a state with a libertarian streak. They also argue that legal sales will generate income and jobs.

"Alaska now has some of the most sensible marijuana laws in the nation," said Dr. Tim Hinterberger, chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in a statement.

Alaskan officials, and the state's alcohol regulatory board, which is set to meet on Tuesday, still have to fill gaps in the legislation. They include a definition of the public places where people cannot light up.

State regulators are drafting rules covering the taxation and sale of marijuana, which must be adopted by Nov. 24. Applications for the first business licenses will not be accepted until February 2016.

Police have released regular updates on how they will enforce the law.

In November, voters in Oregon approved a similar measure, though the drug only becomes legal in July.

Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Curtis Skinner, G Crosse and Andrew Heavens.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

 photo
Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

 photo
STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

 photo capitalism_zpsah78uy5p.jpg
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

 photo TAMIFLU_small_zpssojx6okt.jpg
THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 photo WHO02_zpsplmhtlpr.jpg
The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

READ MORE >>