Thursday, August 26, 2021

Jimmy Dore, Ben Norton, Alan MacLeod

First, Jimmy Dore.

Good to have a new video from Jimmy Dore.  And Chris Hedges is right, the Squad is fake.  They're not real, they don't lead any fights and they don't make any lives better.

Moving over to the topic of Afghanistan, Ben Norton Tweets:

The bombings at Kabul airport in Afghanistan are being blamed on so-called "ISIS-K" or "Islamic State Khorasan" Keep in mind that ex President Karzai (a former US puppet who later turned against the US, and knows many of its secrets) said he considered "ISIS K" to be a US "tool"

And Alan MacLeod (MINT PRESS NEWS) notes:

The conflict in Afghanistan — for the U.S. at least — appears to be over. Essentially admitting defeat, American planes are beating a hasty and ignominious retreat from Kabul, with images of the withdrawal bearing a striking resemblance to those from the fall of Saigon 46 years previously.

As the Taliban complete their takeover, many Americans are wondering what it was all about. For what, and on what, did the United States spend more than $2 trillion? A newly published study from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) — a U.S. government body — lays bare the waste and corruption of the whole affair, drawing parallels with famous satires such as “Catch 22” and “M*A*S*H*.” Uncompromising in its frankness, the 124-page report outlines the incompetence, venality and dark absurdity of the whole endeavor. “When you look at how much we spent and what we got for it, it’s mind boggling,” one senior Department of Defense administrator admitted to SIGAR in 2015.

Congress founded SIGAR in 2008 to provide neutral and objective oversight into the U.S.’ handling of Afghan reconstruction programs. The new report is the latest — and perhaps most critical — of 13 yearly offerings analyzing U.S. efforts in the country.


Bad metrics

At no point did the U.S. truly control all of Afghanistan. But officials in Washington wanted to see quantifiable results. In a region where American troops were barely able to leave their bases without being attacked, “cash spent” became one of the few concrete metrics commanders could report back with any accuracy. 

Sorry about the bombing but bombs go off all the time.  Doesn't mean US troops need to stay and they definitely should leave.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Thursday, August 26, 2021.  The corporate press continues to ignore reality with regards to Afghanistan while Robert Pether faces what passes for 'justice' in Iraq.

Starting with Richard Medhurst demolishing the nonsense that US forces in Afghanistan would be protecting women.

Faux concern for women's rights, the fig leaf covering the empire's flaccid, dangling member.  Imagine if media whores like Andrea Mitchell dealt in reality instead of attempting to outrage the public?  On that, disclosure, a friend with the administration asked my advice re: the press tearing down of Joe Biden?  My advice was right it out and do not give mixed messages.  Stay consistent in the message.  42% approval is not great but it's also not the worst.  The media has shredded Joe over Afghanistan. Ride it out because the media will find another topic soon enough.  Americans truly opposed to Joe's decision were never going to vote for him to begin with.  Most Americans grasp that the situation is much more complex than the media is allowing for.  Barring another event that the media tries to shred him over, this should pass without any political harm to the presidency. I offer advice, playing out scenarios, to friends all the time, as you know if you've read this site for any length of time.  I'm disclosing that one because it involves the messaging of a sitting president.

Realities on Afghanistan are offered by John Pilger (MINT PRESS NEWS):

In August, 1979, the US Embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests … would be served by the demise of the PDPA government, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.”

Read again the words above I have italicised. It is not often that such cynical intent is spelt out as clearly.  The US was saying that a genuinely progressive Afghan government and the rights of Afghan women could go to hell.

Six months later, the Soviets made their fatal move into Afghanistan in response to the American-created jihadist threat on their doorstep. Armed with CIA-supplied Stinger missiles and celebrated as “freedom fighters” by Margaret Thatcher, the mujahedin eventually drove the Red Army out of Afghanistan.

Calling themselves the Northern Alliance, the mujahedin were dominated by warlords who controlled the heroin trade and terrorised rural women. The Taliban were an ultra-puritanical faction, whose mullahs wore black and punished banditry, rape and murder but banished women from public life.

In the 1980s, I made contact with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, known as RAWA, which had tried to alert the world to the suffering of Afghan women. During the Taliban time they concealed cameras beneath their burqas to film evidence of atrocities, and did the same to expose the brutality of the Western-backed mujahedin. “Marina” of RAWA told me, “We took the videotape to all the main media groups, but they didn’t want to know ….”

In1996, the enlightened PDPA government was overrun. The Prime Minister, Mohammad Najibullah, had gone to the United Nations to appeal to for help. On his return, he was hanged from a street light.

“I confess that [countries] are pieces on a chessboard,” said Lord Curzon in 1898, “upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world.”

The Viceroy of India was referring in particular to Afghanistan. A century later, Prime Minister Tony Blair used slightly different words.

“This is a moment to seize,” he said following 9/11. “The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.”

On Afghanistan, he added this: “We will not walk away [but ensure] some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence.”

Blair echoed his mentor, President George W. Bush, who spoke to the victims of his bombs from the Oval Office: “The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering … “

Almost every word was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions for an imperial savagery “we” in the West rarely recognise as such.

He goes over the history at length.  We're excerpting the above because of the US goal with regards to Afghanistan.  Pilger notes the money poured in and the CIA elsewhere in his article.  You can also refer to this 1998 interview with Mika's father who was known for being the priss-pot, fraidy cat of the Carter administration.  ('Cigars from Fidel!  They must be a bomb! Don't open the box until I'm out of the room!'  That is not a made up story, that really did happen when Fidel sent a gift to Hamilton Jordan.)  Killing never scared fraidy cat Zbigniew  Brzezinski but the prospect of peace breaking out always left him peeing his panties.

Loss of money scares the War Crowd.  Sarah Lazare (IN THESE TIMES) reports:

In August 12, the military contractor CACI International Inc. told its investors that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is hurting its profits. The same contractor is also funding a think tank that is concurrently arguing against the withdrawal. This case is worth examining both because it is routine, and because it highlights the venality of our expert”-military contractor feedback loop, in which private companies use think tanks to rally support for wars they’ll profit from.

The contractor is notorious to those who have followed the scandal of U.S.-led torture in Iraq. CACI International was sued by three Iraqis formerly detained in Abu Ghraib prison who charge that the company’s employees are responsible for directing their torture, including sexual assault and electric shocks. (The suit was brought in 2008 and the case is still ongoing.)

In 2019, CACI International was awarded a nearly $907 million, five-year contract to provide intelligence operations and analytic support” for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

During an August 12 earnings call, CACI International noted repeatedly that President Biden’s withdrawal from the 20-year Afghanistan War harmed the company’s profits. John Mengucci, president and CEO of CACI International, said, we have about a 2 percent headwind coming into FY 2022 because of Afghanistan.” A headwind” refers to negative impacts on profits.

Afghanistan was mentioned 16 times throughout the call — either in reference to the dent in profits, or to assure investors that other areas of growth were offsetting the losses. For example, Mengucci said, We’re seeing positive growth in technology and expect it to continue to outpace expertise growth, collectively offsetting the impact of the Afghanistan drawdown.”

Caitlin Johnstone (ICH) observes:

After the US troop withdrawal established conclusively that the Afghan “government” they’d spent twenty years pretending to nation build with was essentially a work of fiction, thus proving to the world that they’ve been lying to us this entire time about the facts on the ground in Afghanistan, you might expect those who helped pave the way for that disastrous occupation to be very quiet at this point in history.

But, far from being silent and slithering under a rock to wait for the sweet embrace of death, these creatures have instead been loudly and shamelessly outspoken.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has posted a lengthy essay by the former Prime Minister who led the United Kingdom into two of the most unconscionable military interventions in living memory. Blair criticizes the withdrawal as having been done out of “obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars’,” bloviating about “Radical Islam,” and asking, “has the West lost its strategic will?”

It’s essentially a 2,750-word temper tantrum, authored by the same man who fed the British people this load of horse s**t after 9/11:

"The starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of Northern Africa to the slums of Gaza, to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan: they too are our cause. 

This is a moment to seize. The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us."

Blair promised that by helping the Bush administration usher in an unprecedented new era of military expansionism they could seize this unfortunate event to “re-order the world” in a way that would benefit all the world’s most unfortunate people. Mountains of corpses and tens of millions of refugees later it is clear to anyone with functioning gray matter that this was all a pack of lies.

Realities fall by the way side so that the corporate media can attempt to cause great alarm and fear in the American people.  What they're forgetting is that the world isn't CNN's Amanpour -- constantly crying that the US won't go to war with this country or that.  And, the greater distance between American and another country, the less important those people are, to be honest about it.  (That's true of other countries as well and not unique to the US.)  US corporate media has attempted to start a #AfghanLivesMatter but it just wouldn't trend.  What's next?

Maybe to slowly get honest about their real concern which was never the Afghan people or even Afghanistan.  As Ava and I noted at THIRD, the US government and corporations are both happy to do business with the Taliban and have before.  Iraq, as we've said here for weeks now, is the real point of the Afghan hysteria the media's promoting.

At THE TIMES OF LONDON, Max Hastings is offering "We risk replaying the Kabul calamity in Iraq."  At THE NATIONAL INTEREST, Farhang Faraydoon Namdarwonders "Will the American Pullout from Iraq Also End in Disaster?"  Then there's the whoring.  No one's done it better most recently than Paul Bremer (see Saturday's "A War Criminal Returns") who is clearly on a strict no-fact diet -- high in carbs, low in facts.  The whoring includes this sudden move to claim Iraq -- specifically Mustafa al-Khadimi -- is a power broker for the region.  See any REUTERS filing recently or this CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR article if you've missed the nonsense.  

Let's rejoin the world of reality where you'll find Mustafa and his government struggling just to hold national elections. August is winding down.  October 10th, the day parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in Iraq, looms.  

How's that looking?  From the United Nations:

With just 46 days until Iraq goes to the polls, the UN Assistance Mission for the country (UNAMI) is stepping up its communications to inform voters about their conduct, Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the Security Council on Wednesday, stressing that it is up to the political parties themselves to refrain from attempts to distort the results.

Briefing Council members for the first time in over a year, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, who is also the head of the Mission, also called claims that UNAMI is advocating for a postponement of the elections “frankly absurd”.

She urged everyone to “stick to the facts”, focus on their own roles and refrain from using the United Nations as a scapegoat.

“Truth, discipline and, yes, courage, are required at this critical juncture”, said the UN official

Misinformation ‘risky business’

If misinformation overtakes reality, “it is not only an enormous energy-drain for those working hard for the greater good of Iraq,” she cautioned.  “It is also risky business.” 

The UNAMI chief urged media outlets to provide accurate, reliable and timely information, instead of fuelling “false perceptions to suit their backers”.

Stressing that Iraq “leads and owns” the 10 October elections, she reminded that their credibility would prove essential for its future.

Elections at hand 

Detailing joint efforts, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said that the Independent High Electoral Commission has reached “several complex milestones” while noting that UNAMI has provided technical assistance wherever it can. 

She outlined that candidate lists have been finalized; a ballot lottery conducted for all 83 constituencies; ballot printing is ongoing; and all ballot papers expected in country by mid-September. 

Meanwhile, polling and results management systems are being reviewed by an independent audit firm.

In parallel, she said preparations for UN monitoring are moving rapidly, with most members of the preparatory team being deployed to Baghdad “as we speak” and regional teams due on the ground in early September.

The Special Representative emphasized that the October elections have “the potential to be different” from those in 2018, and noted that that five times as many UN personnel are currently engaged as were three years earlier.

To calls for a boycott, she cautioned that “a vote not cast, is in fact a gift to those you may be opposed to.”

“With the election date rapidly approaching – Iraq will have our support at every step of the way”, assured the UNAMI chief.

“These elections were hard earned. And I can only emphasize the importance of credible elections for the future of Iraq’s young democracy”.

Deep reforms needed

Iraq is desperately in need of deep, structural reforms, which require unwavering determination, immense patience, and lots of time, according to the UN official, who urged authorities, officials, political parties and candidates not to let the Iraqi people down. 

“Understand that accountability is key to restore public trust”, she stressed. 

Turning to the issue of missing Kuwaiti, third-country nationals and Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said that Kuwait “conclusively identified” the remains of a further 10 individuals from its list of those missing since 1991.

With a total of 30 cases of missing persons formally closed since November 2020, she expressed hope that “this important step will bring some closure to the families”.

AFP reports:

The number of female candidates competing in Iraq's October parliamentary election will be less than half that of the last poll three years ago, according to an elections commission source.
In the 2018 legislative election, 2,014 women competed among a total of 6,982 candidates, but this year the number of women standing will be just 963 out of a total field of 5,323.

This takes the proportion of female candidates down to 18 percent from 28.8 percent, even as Iraq's Constitution reserves a quarter of parliament's 329 seats for women.
[. . .]

 Inas Naji al-Maksoussi, an independent standing in Wasit province in eastern Iraq, said she and other women seeking to enter politics have been subjected to "pressures".
"Some people in my competitors' entourages have prevented me from campaigning in certain areas of my constituency," she told AFP.

Meanwhile DessyMac Tweets:

Blocked every turn! NO access to laptops to defend themselves. Limited access to their lawyers even WITH embassy assistance. 2 innocent EMPLOYEES. Australian Engineer Robert Pether & Egyptian Engineer Khalid Zaghloul. MALICIOUS PROSECUTION. 100% FABRICATED. #FREEROBERTPETHER

Of the ongoing plight of Robert Pether, Matthew Doran and Andrew Probyn (AUSTRALIA's ABC) report:

An Australian engineer ensnared in a dispute between the Iraqi government and his Dubai-based employer is facing five years in jail and a $US12 million ($AUD16.5 million) fine.

Robert Pether, 46, has been languishing in an Iraqi prison since April after he and his Egyptian colleague, Khalid Zaghloul, were arrested in Baghdad, while working for engineering firm CME Consulting.

Mr Pether's wife Desree said the court decision was a "soul-destroying" travesty of justice. 

"It's just absolute hell," Mrs Pether told the ABC from her home in Ireland.

"We honestly thought that justice would prevail after nearly five months and we are so shocked that it didn't happen.

"It didn't matter what evidence they presented in their defence, which was scarce because they didn't have access to their laptops or their hard drives, and the accusations had no backup evidence at all. 

Daniella White (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD) reports:

“Because there’s no way they can raise $12 million and if it’s not paid they don’t get out.”

His wife, Desree Pether, said he was tricked into entering the country by the Iraq Central Bank, which was locked in a contractual dispute with his Dubai-based employer CME Consulting.

“At this moment, I just spoke to him, and he said ‘this is a life sentence’,” she said.

Ms Pether and her children, who are from Sydney but based in Ireland, had held out hope that justice would prevail.

She said the fraud charges against her husband and his colleague, which relate to misrepresentation and overcharging, were fabricated after the bank demanded the contractors return the money they had already been paid after cost blowouts.

Christopher Knaus (GUARDIAN) adds:

Desree Pether, his wife, had maintained hope that he was going to be freed. Instead, she had to tell their three children, including her daughter, Nala, eight, that their dad was not coming home.

“I said ‘Daddy might not be home for a while because he’s been sentenced to five years’, and I explained it to her,” Desree told Guardian Australia.

“She looked down at her hands and looked up at me and said ‘that means I won’t see daddy until I’m 13’.”

“I just burst into tears.”

The two teenage boys, Flynn and Oscar, are shellshocked, Desree said.

“We just keep hugging and the boys just keep making me cups of tea,” she said. “We’re just walking around in shock.”

Desree said she had spoken to her husband on Thursday evening, Australian time.

His lawyers are planning to appeal against the ruling. The Australian government is also working on a way to respond.

“It’s so glaringly obvious they are completely innocent. Australia needs to get behind Rob,” she said.

Patrick Ryan (THE NATIONAL) notes of the inept Australian government:

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it understood Mr Pether, along with an Egyptian colleague, was found guilty of fraud in an Iraqi court and sentenced to five years imprisonment and jointly fined $12million.

"DFAT has made repeated representations to the Iraqi Government on Mr Pether’s case, including to seek clarity on the nature of the charges, related to a business dispute," said a representative.

"The Foreign Minister has written and spoken to her Iraqi counterpart to advocate for Mr Pether’s case in the strongest terms.

"The Australian Government cannot intervene in other governments’ judicial processes. DFAT continues to provide consular assistance to Mr Pether and his family."

The following sites updated:

  • THE CONVO COUCH, John Pilger, Robbie Jaeger

     This is THE CONVO COUCH.

    Jimmy Dore hasn't posted a new video in three days so I'm noting THE CONVO COUCH tonight.  It's a strong program that also deals with real issues.

    Now for what's going on in Afghanistan.  Again, I hope you already read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Corporate media's motives are simple."  You should also read the latest from John Pilger:

    As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their “allies” destroyed.

    In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd, the cousin of King Zahir Shar. It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise.

    Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported the New York Times, were surprised to find that “nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup”. The Wall Street Journal reported that “150,000 persons … marched to honour the new flag …the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.”

    The Washington Post reported that “Afghan loyalty to the government can scarcely be questioned”. Secular, modernist and, to a considerable degree, socialist, the government declared a programme of visionary reforms that included equal rights for women and minorities. Political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.

    Under the monarchy, life expectancy was thirty-five; one in three children died in infancy. Ninety per cent of the population was illiterate. The new government introduced free medical care. A mass literacy campaign was launched.

    For women, the gains had no precedent; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 per cent of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70 per cent of its teachers and 30 per cent of its civil servants.

    So radical were the changes that they remain vivid in the memories of those who benefited. Saira Noorani, a female surgeon who fled Afghanistan in 2001, recalled:

    “Every girl could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked … We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian films on a Friday … it all started to go wrong when the mujahedin started winning … these were the people the West supported.”

    For the United States, the problem with the PDPA government was that it was supported by the Soviet Union. Yet it was never the “puppet” derided in the West, neither was the coup against the monarchy “Soviet-backed”, as the American and British press claimed at the time.

    President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, later wrote in his memoirs: “We had no evidence of any Soviet complicity in the coup.”

    In the same administration was Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Adviser, a Polish √©migr√© and fanatical anti-communist and moral extremist whose enduring influence on American presidents expired only with his death in 2017.

    On 3 July 1979, unknown to the American people and Congress, Carter authorised a $500 million “covert action” programme to overthrow Afghanistan’s first secular, progressive government.  This was code-named by the CIA Operation Cyclone.

    The $500 million bought, bribed and armed a group of tribal and religious zealots known as the mujahedin. In his semi-official history, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward wrote that the CIA spent $70 million on bribes alone. 

    Don't let the corporate media get away with lying.  They're trying to create hysteria and they are trying to hide reality.

    Speaking of reality, check out this Tweet from Robbie Jaeger:

    ICYMI: In spite of Delta fears, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul invested up to $500,000 in an LLC set to acquire 20 hotels across the US as the industry—and country—looks to a 2022 recovery. This story and more in this week's

    The greed and the corruption at the top of the party is disgusting.  Never forget that they are cleaning up while they deny you basics like universal healthcare.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

     Wednesday, August 25, 2021.  They're openly pimping Iraq's government as a success in their desperate move to keep Americans from catching on that the realities in Kabul will likely repeat in Iraq.

    It's always interesting -- and telling -- who gets invited to the discussion.  Yesterday, we noted that a retired US military colonel couldn't get invited to appear on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED but a pro-war man from an AIPAC funded 'think tank' could.  Today, let's note that THE ECONOMIST has a whole world of people whose opinion that they can seek out but they choose to seat Robert Kaplan at the table instead of someone who has manners and doesn't need a  tick bath.  

    No surprise, Kappy, scratching his ears with his hind legs, sees only good in the world of empire.  He writes:

    That geography helps explain why America can miscalculate and fail in successive wars, yet completely recover, unlike smaller and less well-situated countries which have little margin for error. Thus, stories about American decline are overrated. Geography has bequeathed America such power and with such protection that, integrated into an increasingly smaller world as it is, the country cannot help but remain in an imperial-like situation, with far-flung economic and military commitments around the world.

    America may withdraw from failed ground interventions in the Middle East, but its navy and air force still patrol large swaths of the planet as the bulwark of alliance systems in Europe and Asia. This continues regardless of its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Scenes of chaos at Kabul’s airport as America pulled out are arresting, but in strategic terms it’s more image than substance. Remember that following the fall of Saigon in 1975 the United States went on to win the cold war.

    Even the obsession of American elites with human rights has a geographical basis, since the protection afforded by oceans has made them suspicious of the ruthless realpolitik always demanded of states with insecure land borders. The country still has the ability to stand aloof and make moral judgments accordingly.

    People who've actually studied geography question whether or not Kappy even understands it.  That's the least of his problems; however.  His xenophobia is well documented.  He's accused of misunderstanding empires and how they work.  But he flatters a corrupt system that kills so he gets invited to write for THE ATLANTIC in a curious article that cites a lot of long dead thinkers but not one living Iraq or Afghan despite the words "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" appearing in his title.  How can he grasp what's going on in the world right now?  Maybe by holding a seance with Ernest Renan -- who died in 1892 but gets quoted while people actually pertinent to today's discussion are ignored.

    The only thing more laughable than Kaplan's article is the illustration of Kaplan by Dan Williams.  Even THE ECONOMIST knows Kaplan's an ugly soul so they commission a drawing of him that extends and slenderizes Kaplan's chunky face.  Reality, no matter how hard they work to conceal reality, Kaplan still has to look into a mirror.

    Meanwhile, some are going into Afghanistan.  Caitlin Yilek (CBS NEWS) reports:

    Two members of Congress secretly traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, as the U.S. evacuates tens of thousands of Americans and vulnerable Afghans after the country fell to the Taliban.  

    Representatives Seth Moulton, a Democrat, and Republican Peter Meijer, both Iraq War veterans, made a stealth visit to the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Tuesday "to conduct oversight" on the evacuation, their offices said in a statement after they departed Afghanistan. 


    I'm told people can accomplish a great deal when their sex drive dries up.  Our Sisters of Kabul issued a joint-statement which included this claim, "We left on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence."  Well, actually, boys, those two crew-only seats?  If non-crew (including both of you) sit in them?  No one explodes.  Meaning that those two seats could, indeed, have been used for people wishing to leave Afghanistan.  But let's pretend you did something on your for-show visit.  

    While big boy Seth's in Afghanistan 'investigating,' any chance he might look into the reality of US actions in Afghanistan.  Branko Marcetic (JACOBIN) notes:

    It’s worth remembering the United States is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court, where prosecutors say they have evidence US troops and the CIA “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” against Afghan detainees. A lot of this is along the lines of the typical kinds of stories we’ve heard come out of Guantanamo Bay, but it also went further, including beating men on their testicles, and forced “rectal feeding” of alleged hunger strikers that was so harsh, it gave one detainee “chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse.”

    These kinds of atrocities have been carried out by US forces and their Afghan allies from the very start of the invasion, as compiled by Human Rights Watch, the premier liberal human rights organization that, within the human rights world, has mainly been criticized for being too friendly to Washington.

    In 2004, the organization detailed how coalition troops would heavy-handedly arrest entirely innocent villagers and their children, in the process endangering and sometimes beating, insulting, and killing them — even robbing and destroying their property — before sending them to enjoy Guantanamo-like treatment for the days and weeks their families had no clue where they were. In a society where the inviolability of a man’s home has traditionally been a matter of personal honor, such raids — particularly when carried out with dogs or when women are present — were experienced as especially grave abuses.

    The scale of civilian deaths, deliberately undercounted, were further laid bare by WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of the Afghanistan war logs, which detailed coalition forces killing and wounding hundreds of Afghan civilians from 2004 to 2009. The logs highlighted instances of shocking recklessness, as when a “smart bomb” malfunctioned and  landed on a village, causing nineteen casualties; or when Polish troops violated protocol and rained mortar onto a villager near where a military vehicle had been attacked, killing six civilians, including a pregnant woman and three kids. (“If you see a fucking dude holding a weapon, you fucking hose him down!” one Pole recalled a US platoon sergeant briefing his men, about a largely rural populace where villagers regularly carry rifles). 

    Episodes like these were depressingly regular throughout the rest of the war: forty-five dead in an airstrike here, thirty dead in an air strike there; another forty-five killed in a strike on Taliban drug labs; forty-seven more when a wedding party was bombed. Each were justified as measures targeting the Taliban; each killed an appalling number of kids, besides innocent men and women.

    Though they didn’t kill as many as all various anti-government forces (including the Taliban and ISIS) combined, the US military, its allies, and the Afghan government killed an average of 582 civilians a year from 2007 to 2016, before rising to more than 1,100 between 2017 and 2019. Since 2016, 40 percent of airstrike casualties have been kids.

    In one infamous incident, US and Afghan forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital, destroying its main building and killing forty-two patients and staff, even though they’d been given its GPS coordinates beforehand and hospital personnel had alerted the US military while they were being attacked. It was as unambiguous a war crime as you can find, which is presumably why Washington put the kibosh on any independent investigation, no matter the contradictory and evolving explanations offered. Eventually, both Afghan forces and the US military publicly agreed they had committed the atrocity on purpose, supposedly because the Taliban had used the hospital as a perch from which to attack them.

    No, Seth won't look into that or even acknowledge it as he chases one TV personality after another promising a 'scoop!' if only they'll speak to him on air.  Keep chasing, Seth, might take off a few of those pounds.  It so sad, isn't it, how those pounds popped up after you were supposedly happy.  

    Seth's been jabbing constantly about what we owe the Afghan translators and the Afghans this and that.

    What we owe?

    Okay, do we only grasp the concept of traitor when it applies to us?  We seem to grasp that Benedict Arnold was a traitor.  But little snitches who informed on their fellow Afghans?

    Leaving aside how they made money off the war, I believe that they were promised a pay check.  Did they not get that pay check?  If they didn't get it, we have a problem.  But I'm unaware of any promise -- verbal or in writing -- that has been made to Afghans (or Iraqis) who worked with foreign military that they would be brought back to the US.  

    War is messy.  That's why you need to give considered and reasoned thought to it.  That's why you need to be factual and not lie about it or build it around lies.  The media whored to get the wars -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- going.  I guess it's a little too late to expect them to traffic in honesty and facts.

    And the American people?  Fortunately, most Americans are apolitical.  Fortunately because we have some real idiots on my side -- or supposedly on my side.

    These are the idiots who made a hero of Dan Rather, for example.  Loony Tune Dan?  Dan's entire career has been built around misreporting but, more to the point, there's his shameful appearance begging for 'marching orders from Bully Boy Bush on TV. Does history not matter or do people just love flaunting their stupidity?  I have no idea but even the worst is suddenly rehabbed by too many idiots on my side.  Tie an anti-Trump slogan around someone and watch a number of idiots on the left chase after him as though he had a pork chop around his neck.  

    Easy alliances with cheap whores really don't pay off but I guess we'll have to wait until the visits to the free clinic for so many claiming to be of the left to grasp that reality.  Remember, boys and girls allergic to penicillin that there are a host of antibiotics that can be used to treat basic veneral diseases these days.  Don't lose hope.

    Meanwhile, we told you over and over in recent weeks that the true protected target was Iraq, that Iraq was the jewel the US government didn't want to let go of.  As Ava and I noted:

    But the drama the bobble heads are creating goes to one point: Don't leave Iraq.

    They want the US occupation of Iraq to continue. Why? Because that's what their masters, the corporations who pay their checks, want. WAR IS A RACKET, Smedley Butler wrote about that decades ago (1935) and nothing has changed. The US is empire, like the Ottoman empire before it or the British empire or . . .

    Afghanistan? Has natural resources but the corporations and US government know that they can work with the Taliban. They did so, after all, before 2001. Gore Vidal may be dead but his observations live on in his writings and in his interviews. Sadly, Hillary Clinton lives on. She does love to lie. She showed up on CNN to insist that what Joe was doing might put the Taliban in control!

    Oh, Hillary, you need so much more than a podcast. You excel at lying to the American people so you really should be in the media. We know your daughter failed spectacularly. But you have a real gift for lying gab and you'd be the perfect new host of an MSNBC program, possibly one entitled TO HIDE A PEDOPHILE or TO HIDE A RAPIST.

    When was the Taliban not in charge? Outside of Kabul, it's controlled the country for some time. Hillary leaves that out because it undermined her screeching. We're sure Hillary's heard of the Council on Foreign Relations. They say, that in July 2021, the Taliban controlled 54% of Afghanistan. (And, of course, the US signed a peace treaty with the Taliban in 2020.)  So before Joe's actions this month, the Taliban already controlled half the country. To be the red headed girl on KIDS IN THE HALL, it's a fact.

    And it's one that the high drama really doesn't convey.

    Again, you're being lied to.

    And we said at THE COMMON ILLS for the last two weeks that the response (the lying) would be about Iraq. It's the jewel. The corporations can work with the Talbian -- as Union Oil -- based in California -- did when they signed a contract with the Taliban before 9/11. Again, read Gore Vidal, pay attention to the how the riches can be pipelined through the region and how Unical was all ready to do so.

    Can they work with Iraq?

    To work with Iraq, they'd have to figure out who would be in charge when US forces left?  That puppet government will most likely collapse.  It's deeply unpopular.  It's corrupt.  It doesn't represent the Iraqi people.

    Iraq has no group like the Taliban that's consolidated and powerful.  So control would be up for grabs.  Therefore, they can't risk it so let's sell Iraq to the American people one more time!

    At the pro-war Council of/for/on Foreign Relations, Stephen A. Cook shows up to sell Iraq as a country with a powerful government:

    Now, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who gets high marks from almost everyone for his determination to alter Iraqi political and economic fortunes, has come to believe that to have a chance at resolving the problems inside Iraq, he must play a role in helping to settle the problems around it. He may be onto something. Instability in Iraq’s neighborhood contributes to the country’s multiple problems—but does Baghdad have the influence, resources, and prestige to forge a more stable region? The Iraqi leader has some assets to work with here, mostly his own prestige and the relationships he fostered as the head of Iraq’s intelligence service between 2016 and 2020, but it remains unclear why the Saudis, Emiratis, or the Egyptians need Iraq’s help. 

    The first indication of the Iraqi government’s new and more constructive approach to the region actually predates the arrival of Kadhimi to the prime ministry. In the spring of 2019, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq announced their intention to establish a mechanism for economic and geopolitical cooperation. 

    I know ONLY FANS is banning porn, why can't COFR?  I have sympathy for Opal Lee (previous link) but none for Stephen Cook.  While Stephen lies and tries to sell America a lemon of a government, Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW) reports some realities about the Iraqi government that Cook omits:                                                                             

    Iraq’s fields and orchards are drying up. Mismanagement of water resources has left the country’s environment vulnerable to climate change, the deputy minister for the environment told Rudaw, resulting in fragile food and national security.

    “Diyala used to be a food basket for all Iraq, from fruits to dates. Baqubah is famous for oranges, but now you see what it has come to. This pomegranate has dried up inside. The grapes and dates were also damaged due to the drought. We are now buying fruits and vegetables from neighboring countries while we have fruits and vegetables here in Iraq,” Omer Abdulaziz said as he was walked through his orchard in Baqubah, in southern Diyala province.

    The head of Diyala’s agriculture directorate said he expects the problem will likely to extend into the next seasons and years. 

    “Some of the farmers have resorted to digging wells to get through this period successfully. We don’t want to take a risk and make early predictions for the climate, but the signs indicate that the next season will also face drought,” said Hussein Khadhir Abbas.

    Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable nation in the world to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity, according to the UN, yet it lags behind its neighbors in creating a plan to better manage its water resources.

    Present-day Iraq is the ancient Mesopotamia, the land of two rivers - Tigris and Euphrates. “Life in this country and the continuity of its civilization depends on this water,” Jassim al-Falahi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Environment and Health, told Rudaw in an interview on August 16.

    “Ninety percent of our water source comes from out of Iraq, and you know water security is essential for food security and that is fundamental for national security. The environment security includes all these, which means Iraq’s environment security is very fragile,” he said.

    “That’s why this country is one of the most damaged among countries of the world in climate change, due to lack of rain, due to the decrease of the water from building dam projects, such as Ilisu dam [in Turkey] and the dams Iran has built, in addition to our problems in terms of not having a suitable mechanism for water distribution among the provinces,” he added.

    The majority of Iraq’s water supplies come from outside of the country, from rivers that are being dammed by Turkey and Iran, which are also seeing drought. Water levels in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers - shared by Iraq, Syria, and Turkey - have dropped by more than half, the spokesperson for Iraq’s water ministry said on Sunday.

    Domestic failures such as a lack of policy to guides water usage and little public awareness have worsened the issue, “not only in daily use of water at home, which takes eight percent of our total water income, but the real problem is we are still practicing agriculture like our Sumerian ancestors where a lot of water is being wasted,” said Falahi. 

    Maybe the next time Stephen Cook wants to write, he can do a piece on what it's like to be a dirty ass liar?

     Let's wind down.  First, check out Jackson Hinkle's discussion with Scott Horton about Afghanistan and Max Blumenthal's discussion with Scott Horton..

    Second. let's note Liza Featherstone's latest at JACOBIN:

    In 2014, faced with a progressive female challenger, the legal scholar Zephyr Teachout, [Andrew] Cuomo and his lieutenant governor, now-governor Cathy Hochul, founded the Women’s Equality Party to attract more female votes to himself and his centrist buddies, many of whom were men.

    Some fifty thousand voters were fooled into voting for the Cuomo-Hochul ticket on the Women’s Equality line in 2014, and who can blame them? “Women’s Equality” sounds like something progressives would want to support. But it was a sham.

    In 2015, a group of women led by former state senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, a dairy farmer who had represented an upstate district in western Schenectady County, sued to gain control of the party. Tkaczyk said at the time, “I didn’t think women needed to be told what to do by a man,” explaining that she wanted to put control in the hands of the members. That challenge failed.

    In 2018, the party was briefly under new leadership: Susan Zimet, who was not otherwise politically worthless. A former New Paltz supervisor who led protests against fracking, she had also been executive director of the Hunger Action Network of New York State. There was some speculation that under her leadership, the party would develop some independence from Cuomo. But that didn’t happen.

    Indeed, it was under Zimet’s leadership that the cynicism of the project became especially obvious, as the Women’s Equality Party endorsed Cuomo over a much more progressive woman, this time democratic socialist Cynthia Nixon, former Sex in the City star and a dedicated education activist.

    “Yes, Cynthia is a woman, and yes, she represents a lot of our values, but we have a governor who literally created the party,” Zimet whined to Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times. Equally mortifyingly, the WEP supported incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the famous democratic socialist from Queens, who ended up winning the race. Again, the party supported a man. Notice a pattern?

    The Idiot Bellafante.  Who knew she still had a career?  Hmm.

    Lastly, KBLA has an upcoming broadcast that they are promoting:

    That's 7 to 9 pm Pacific time.  It's too early for me to do math.  I think that''s five to seven pm central time and four to six pm EST. 

    The following sites updated: