Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Along with Occupation - Worsening Civil and Human Rights?


***Many if not most detained in the "war on terror" by US authorities (including "Rendered" from Bagram)are being denied trials and face military tribunals or worse - "indefinite detention"

*** many of the policies once widely declared by Democrats to be a grave threat to the Constitution are now explicitly adopted by the Obama administration. And it's flatly inconsistent to invoke "the rule of law" to defend Obama's decision to give trials to a few Guantanamo detainees without pointing out that he's violating that very same precept by denying trials to so many.

***UPDATE: The Nation's Jeremy Scahill reveals that the U.S. military is using Blackwater -- as part of "a secret program in [Pakistan in] - including Karachi - which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives." McClatchy reports that Obama has made a decision to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which, if true, means, as Juan Cole says, that "Gen. Stanley McChrystal has won the struggle for policy decisively." (ADD ON from oneheart blogger: now Obama is saying that his intention is to "finish the job" -
does this mean war without end or a scenario in keeping with the litany in the recent article at Consortiumnews dot com Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards

So, to recap: we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus. These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own.

And if you haven't seen or read Bill Moyers' amazing -- and obviously relevant -- examination this week of how and why President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam, I can't recommend highly enough that you do so. here Hearing History: Lessons from a Quagmire (Vietnam Views)

See Greenwald piece in full:

Glenn Greenwald: Greg Craig and Obama's Worsening Civil Liberties Record


Connie L. Nash said...

To cut down on # of links, placing a series of items from newsdissector here as Comments:

#1 NYT: No Surprise: Official Charged With Closing Guantánamo Quits - Phillip Carter resigned last Friday because of “personal issues,” a Pentagon official said.

#2 It Looks Like The War Will Escalate, So Much For The Peace Prize President!

AP: WASHINGTON – Signaling he’s decided on new troop levels for the Afghanistan war, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he intends to “finish the job” on his watch and destroy terrorist networks in the region.

The president said he would reveal his decision on how many additional soldiers to deploy to Afghanistan after Thanksgiving. The White House is aiming for an announcement by Obama either Tuesday or Wednesday in a national address. Congressional hearings will quickly follow.

Connie L. Nash said...

India is reportedly pressuring the US to stay in Afghanistan.

JUAN COLE: President Obama is widely thought to be likely to announce his Afghanistan plans next week. Leaks suggest that he will send 34,000 new troops. If that is so, Gen. Stanley McChrystal has won the struggle for policy decisively.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ADMINISTRATION SEES THIS AS A “MIDDLE OPTION” WITH CLEAR GOALS, MARKERS AND TARGETS ALTHOUGH NO TIMETABLE FOR WITHDRAWAL….THE QUESTION: Will Congress appropriate the money? The answer: probably. They are all afraid of being labeled soft on terrorism.

AP REPORTS: Neither he nor his advisers have detailed an exit plan, but the strategy he is expected to describe next week would include specific dates that deployments could be slowed or stopped if necessary, a senior military official said. The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision was not final.

With U.S. combat deaths climbing on Obama’s watch and more than half the American public opposed to escalation, the president seemed to acknowledge Tuesday that he has a lot to explain.

Connie L. Nash said...


No, says a British MP who offers an analysis reported by blogger Michael Yon.


Meanwhile the fighting continues:

Connie L. Nash said...

The USG Open Source Center translates a Pashto news item about fighting in Qunduz Province, north of Kabul, on Monday between Taliban on the one hand and on the other, NATO (in this case German) & Afghanistan National Army forces. About a third of Qunduz is Pashtun, and some members of that ethnic group have joined the fight against the Kabul government and its foreign backers. Taliban fighters appear to have attacked a German/ ANA convoy, but were dispersed when the Germans called in close air support:

Connie L. Nash said...

John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus, THE BRAKE: Hitting the Brakes on Afghanistan

Imagine finding yourself in the driver’s seat of a car heading directly at a brick wall. You panic: What to do?

Fortunately, there are three people in the car with you, and they all have very firm advice. The person in the passenger seat tells you to push the pedal to the metal. Right behind you in the back seat, your friend is urging you to accelerate only modestly. And the fourth person in the car recommends that you maintain your current speed.

You might be thinking: These are my only choices? I’ll hit the brick wall either really quickly, rather quickly, or pretty darn soon. The end result will be the same. The car will be destroyed and all four of you will be in the hospital.

Since these are the choices now being presented to President Barack Obama for his Afghanistan policy, who can blame him for being slow to make up his mind? His top general is telling him to send 40,000 troops. His vice president is telling him to send 10-15,000 troops. And his secretary of state and Pentagon chief are urging the middle course of 30,000 troops.

Isn’t anyone out there telling the president that he has more levers at his disposal than simply the gas pedal? Isn’t anyone pointing out the obvious?

The brake, Mr. President, the brake!

Connie L. Nash said...

Azaz Syed: US in Back-channel Talks with Afghan Taliban

After fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan for more than eight years, the United States appears to have undertaken a re-think of its policy and has started engaging the Taliban in negotiations through Saudi and Pakistani intelligence agencies, highly-placed sources told Dawn here on Monday.

Afghan Army Turnover Rate Threatens U.S. War Plans
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Nov 24 (IPS) - One in every four combat soldiers quit the Afghan National Army (ANA) during the year ending in September, published data by the U.S. Defence Department and the Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan reveals.

Connie L. Nash said...


World Public reports:

Page A3 of today’s Washington Post declares, “Opinion polls show that most Americans believe [the Afghan War] is no longer worth fighting.” This creates the misleading impression that a majority of Americans do not want to continue the operation. In fact there are no polls that show a majority wanting to withdraw.

The finding that the Post writers may have been referencing is from a November 15 Washington Post poll that asked, “considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, or not?” The number saying that it has not been worth it has been rising and on November 15th stood at 52%.

What this means is that a slight majority thinks that, to this point, the benefits have not outweighed the costs. But this does not tell us whether or not Americans have decided to cut their losses and quit, stay in the game, or even to raise their bets.

Like the administration, the public as a whole is having trouble making up its mind. For example in a November 8 Gallup poll, 44% favored beginning troop withdrawal, but more favored either increasing troop levels (42%) or maintaining the current troop level (7%).

Connie L. Nash said...


KABUL, 24 November (IRIN) - One day after samples of eight suspected cases of influenza H1N1 2009 were brought to the Central Laboratory (CL) in Kabul from Afghanistan’s central-west province of Ghor, a rapid test showed two were swine flu and the rest seasonal flu. The second step will be to verify the diagnosis through a Polymerize Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

“Now we are blessed with technology, I will send the final results to our health officer in Ghor by email,” said Ghulam Eshan Shariffi, director of the CL.

However, the two patients will not know about their illness for at least a week after they were suspected to have the deadly and contagious virus.

Both will receive Tamiflu medicine from the provincial health department free of charge, health officials said. In May the UN World Health Organization (WHO) donated 30,360 adult doses of Tamiflu capsules (costing US$500,000) to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), which have been distributed to all 34 provinces.

Swine flu was first reported among international forces in Afghanistan in July but the virus has now spread to different parts of the country and thus far 835 cases have been confirmed (503 Afghans and 332 foreigners). The disease has killed at least 14 Afghans as of 23 November, according to the MoPH.

Connie L. Nash said...



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has no plans to join a global treaty banning landmines because a policy review found the United States could not meet its security commitments without them, the State Department said on Tuesday.

“This administration undertook a policy review and we decided that our land mine policy remains in effect,” spokesman Ian Kelly told a briefing five days before a review conference in Cartegena, Colombia on the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty.



WASH POST: Japan says it will soon release details of nuclear pact with U.S: Though existence of accord was known, move puts strain on ties

TOKYO — Japan’s new government, already bickering with the United States about the location of a Marine air station on Okinawa, appears intent on revealing evidence of a decades-old secret pact between Tokyo and Washington that allowed U.S. ships and aircraft to carry nuclear weapons on stopovers in Japan.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said that the investigation is in its final stages and that its findings will be announced in January. “We’ll be unburdening ourselves of the insistence of past governments that a secret agreement did not exist,” Okada said in a speech last weekend.

Find more on the Occupations and Rights at:
Also Talking Points

War Resisters League Asheville said...

thanks for your diligent work helping keep us informed. Now we must move into action and escalate our nonviolentaction to restore due process and end these wars. Clare

Connie L. Nash said...

Thanx for the comment, Clare & Coleman and your diligent actions as well...tell us how we might best go about revving up the anti-war movement and what may be some great signs???

Connie L. Nash said...

On Afghanistan and health care, President Obama is "triangulating" against his base and toward Republicans, says Jeff Cohen.

For the full story, go to:

While there also read:

Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi was shocked that his book about prosecuting George W. Bush was ignored, says David Swanson.