In an Afghan refugee camp close to Iran – Afghanistan border:
The whole community is busy making sun-dried adobes to build a shelter in anticipation of the American attack.
The school teacher seems to be the only one to realize the uselessness of all these activities.
She explains the 9-11 attacks on WTC to kids who don’t even know what a tower building is.
With an improvised clock she makes them hold a minute of silence for the 9-11 victims.
A day after President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Bill Moyers sits down with award-winning investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill to examine what are the facts on the ground and how the situation is actually developing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Make no mistake. We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
Jeremy Scahill: “If the United States, as President Obama says, doesn’t want a permanent presence in Afghanistan, why allocate a billion dollars to build this fortress like embassy, similar to the one in Baghdad, in Islamabad, Pakistan? Another one in Peshawar. Having an increase in mercenary forces. Expanding the US military presence there.
[...] President Obama making it a point, regularly, to say, “We’re going to have Guantánamo closed by early next year.” The fact is that, at Bagram, we see an expansion. They’re spending $60 million to expand that prison. You have hundreds of people held without charges.
[...] Not to mention these regular attacks that we’re seeing inside of Pakistan that have killed upwards of 700 civilians using these robotic drones since 2006. Including 100 since Obama took power.
[...] If this was about fighting terrorism, it would be viewed as a law enforcement operation where you are going to hunt down criminals responsible for these actions and bring them in front of a court of law. This is turning into a war of occupation.
[...] We live in amidst the most radical privatization agenda in the history of our country.
[...] They said that the Taliban are using civilians as human shields. And that’s why so many civilians have been killed. Their source for that was an Air Force intelligence officer who was allowed to speak on as though it was a Pentagon press release. I think that this is sick. Where you turn war, essentially, into a videogame that can be waged by people half a world away. What this does, these drones, is they it sanitizes war. It means that we increase the number of people that don’t have to see that war is hell on the ground. And it means that wars are going to be easier in the future because it’s not as tough of a sell.
[...] Well, I think that what we have seen happen, as a result of this incredible reliance on private military contractors, is that the United States has created a new system for waging war. Where you no longer have to depend exclusively on your own citizens to sign up for the military and say, “I believe in this war, so I’m willing to sign up and risk my life for it.” You turn the entire world into your recruiting ground. You intricately link corporate profits to an escalation of warfare and make it profitable for companies to participate in your wars. In the process of doing that you undermine U.S. democratic processes. And you also violate the sovereignty of other nations, ’cause you’re making their citizens in combatants in a war to which their country is not a party. I feel that the end game of all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation state apparatus in the world. And it could be replaced by a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies. To me, that would be a devastating development. But it’s on. It’s happening on a micro level. And I fear it will start to happen on a much bigger scale. [...]” Link to the video and transcript
Excerpt from “Sending More Troops Will Not Solve the Problem”–Grassroots Afghan Activist Rangina Hamidi – Democracy Now
Rangina Hamidi: “[...] In Kandahar, we got together about—well, we got together last year and decided that as the government agencies have been celebrating International Day for Women, which falls on March 8th every year, we did not want to be necessarily celebrating the day when so many women were in mourning because they were losing a lot of their male relatives or male members of their families almost on a daily basis. So, in 2008, on March 8th, the women in our network gathered together, more than 1,500 of them, to commemorate the day by praying for peace, because they’ve been in war for literally more than thirty years. And women are sick and tired of it, and they don’t know—you know, on a local level, they don’t know any political figure, locally or nationally and/or even internationally, that they can go to to have their voices and have their plea be heard. So, because this is a religious and a conservative society, the women said, “Who better to pray to about peace than God?” These are all believing women. And so, they gathered for the first time publicly to pray for peace.
So, in Kandahar yesterday, we had more than—you know, we had hundreds of women show up, and all of them were praying for peace. The age group—we probably had women in their seventies and as young as ten and twelve. Even babies came to our event with their mothers. And it was a very peaceful and a calm event. All of the women were wearing light blue scarves as a symbol of peace and stability that they’d chosen.
And basically, it was a short event, but an event full of a lot of meaning, because the women want the world to know that they’re active in their pursuit—in their way of pursuing peace and stability, because a lot of the women know that the men, unfortunately, in our country, whether they’re in politics or not in politics, being either businessmen or just men in society, it seems that men are not trying hard enough to ask for peace. And so, the women have taken it upon themselves, that because they have never been part—an active part of the wars in the past thirty-plus years, they want to now be the active agents of calling for peace. [...]“
Pictures from Peace with justice for Afghanistan
A friend emailed me the above pictures. This is what Afghanistan looked liked some 40 years ago. The country has since been liberated. Twice – by both present day and former superpowers.
Photographer Luke Powell remembers Afghanistan of the 70’s: “No motor vehicles, no power lines. Everything was homemade and everyone was happy and no one was hungry. It was the most beautiful place“
Telegraph.co.uk: An Afghan man harvests opium in a poppy field while US soldiers look on in a village in Golestan district, Farah province, Afghanistan
Some numbers*: Afghanistan has become the absolute leader in narcotics production, producing 93% of the world’s entire opiates… over 70,000 hectares of land being cultivated [...] Since the Taliban regime was overthrown in the 2001 U.S.-led campaign, Afghanistan, with almost all its arable land being used to grow opium poppies remains the world’s leading producer of heroin.
*** The Poppy Palace – Electric Politics interviews Sibel Edmonds: “It is puzzling to observe that in reporting this major artery of terrorists’ funding, the U.S. mainstream media and political machine do not dare to go beyond the poppy fields of Afghanistan and the fairly insignificant low level Afghan warlords overseeing the crops.”
More at Let Sibel Edmonds speak
Previous post: All is well in Kabul markets
Two very interesting posts by P U L S E:
The Way We Were and What We Are Becoming: An interview with Dr. Michael Hudson, President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 and 2003) and of The Myth of Aid (1971).
Hudson examines the causes and consequences of the present financial crisis, its similarities with the destruction of post-Soviet economy, the “Free Market”, etc. (59mn podcast)
Obama and Afghanistan: Are Bush wars becoming Obama’s wars? Marwan Bishara (Aljazeera program Empire) and his guests including Seymour Hersh, examine the path from Iraq to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. At the beginning of the second video, we learn how the El Salvador option was applied in Iraq. (Two 20 mn videos)
“Today I am breathing effortlessly and I am filled with legitimate pride for my country.
While the whole world is shaking in the fever of the fall of stocks, the 10% decrease of the Dow-Jones indictor sets a record and the inflation is rampant in most well off countries, my ancient country and its valiant people have no reason to worry.
The Dow-Jones indicator of the local market in Kabul remains stable in the face of this worldwide financial crisis.
Even though we are the most globalized country in the world, and have no resemblance to Iran or China – who have stayed out of the harm’s way due to lack of international trade or because of a nationalized economy – no, our international trade starts in Kabul itself and extends throughout the world. Yes, we have investments everywhere.
Our loyal costumers are waiting for us all over the world: one has passed out on a street corner, dozing off while waiting, another in a bar; one in Hollywood, one in Bollywood, all waiting impatiently for our healing white powder.
From this corner of the world I congratulate the economic sense of my country’s leaders. Do you realize that if Kabul’s market had crashed what calamities would befall the world? A financial crisis in Kabul’s Market is tantamount to the collapse of welfare for humanity.”
Why a low point? “In July 2000 the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar banned poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. An international delegation led by the United Nations Drug Control Program visited Afghanistan to study the impact of Omar’s ban. [...] That in less than a year Afghanistan has gone from being the biggest opium producer in the world to providing a trickle of the global supply may be the single-most successful drug moratorium in modern history…” read more
Ali Ramezani writes: “5.30 in the morning, Kabul, next to the mosque by the adobe bridge, in front of the former Bamian Hotel. The little girl is gathering scraps of paper. She isn’t aware of being photographed. They call her: “hey, he is taking your picture”. She smiles, both for the photographer and you.”
Congrats to all Afghans who are celebrating their first Olympic medal in history:
Ruhollah Nikpai, taekwondo – under 58 kg.
21 year old Nikpai wants to kick open the way for peace
“My training situation is a lot like the situation in my country,” he said. “It’s not good.”
Aijaz Ahmad, Real News Network senior analyst:
-[...] major news about Afghanistan never gets discussed. For example, a very important thing very much in the news today with respect to Iraq is this agreement that the Bush administration’s trying to sign with the al-Maliki government which gives the United States the right to have bases in Iraq in perpetuity, which creates a situation in which the Iraqi courts don’t have any [...] jurisdiction over American soldiers and so on and so forth. Now, never has it been discussed in the US media, and even in most of the scholarly journals, that the United States actually did sign such an agreement with the Karzai government in Afghanistan in 2005, three years ago.
- So they have a deal for bases in Afghanistan.
- In perpetuity. That never became big news in the United States. (Video and transcript here)
Real News Network: More on Afghanistan
Luke Powell another photographer who was attracted to Afghan culture, remembers the 70′s: “No motor vehicles, no power lines. Everything was homemade and everyone was happy and no one was hungry. It was the most beautiful place“. See previous post.
Powell was first attracted to Afghan culture in the 1970s. “No motor vehicles, no power lines. Everything was homemade and everyone was happy and no one was hungry. It was the most beautiful place“.
During the Russian occupation there were over a dozen museum exhibits of the Afghan Folio each year in North America.
Visit to Iran dispels anti-U.S. fears, provides perspective on grievances
by Jeff Thorner, Tucson, Arizona 06.27.2007: “I just returned from a three-week trip to Iran. I seized the opportunity to travel there with a small group of New Zealanders, thinking it might be wise as an American citizen to keep a low profile and enjoy the “cover” provided by this non-American contingent of travelers…” read more
More photos of Iran: travel blogs and photos at
Also two interesting interviews, both concerning Iran:
1: An interview with Gareth Porter, historian and journalist- Antiwar.com
2: An interview with author and activist Webster G. Tarpley announcing the July 4th Philadelphia Emergency Anti-War Convention