Tag Archives: Afghanistan

In Pre-Sentencing Letter, Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Says Crisis of Conscience Motivated Leak

“I came to believe that the policy of drone assassination was being used to mislead the public that it keeps us safe… I began to speak out, believing my participation in the drone program to have been deeply wrong.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-25-2021

Whistleblower Daniel Hale faces sentencing after pleading guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information about the U.S. targeted drone assassination program. (Photo: Bob Hayes/handout)

Attorneys for drone whistleblower Daniel Hale—who faces sentencing next week after pleading guilty earlier this year to violating the Espionage Act—on Thursday submitted a letter to Judge Liam O’Grady in which the former Air Force intelligence analyst says a crisis of conscience drove him to leak classified information about the U.S. targeted assassination program.

The 11-page handwritten letter (pdf) begins with a quote from U.S. Admiral Gene La Rocque, who said in 1995 that “we now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away… Since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse.” Continue reading

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Afghans left to pick up the pieces of the West’s failed war

As the Taliban rapidly expand in the shadow of US and NATO allies’ retreat, has anyone considered the impact on innocent civilians?

By Paul Rogers.  Published 7-3-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Piqsels

Military leaders in the United States and Britain, as well as allied countries, now accept that they have lost their war with the Taliban.

When US President Joe Biden confirmed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, this was tacit acceptance of a position that is rarely stated so bluntly in public. Although General Austin S Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, came close this week when he admitted it was worrisome that as his troops pull out, there has been a rapid loss of districts throughout the country to the Taliban. Continue reading

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Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001

“As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-21-2021

New research released Monday shows the post-9/11 wars launched by the U.S. military since 2001 have resulted in over 30,000 suicides by active duty American solders and veterans—over four times the number killed in combat operations.

According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project—established in 2010 to account for the loss of lives and taxpayer dollars spent on U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—an estimated 30,177 veterans and service members have killed themselves over the last nearly two decades, compared with 7,057 members of the military who have been killed in combat. Continue reading

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Cracks in the Middle East’s stability grow wider as US influence wanes

With the region experiencing social unrest, greater influence of Russia and China, and Israel’s increasing independence, the future is uncertain

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-29-2021 by openDemocracy

A Palestinian making art out of an unexploded Israeli missile. Photo: Wajd/Twitter

The reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, which reverses one of Trump’s key moves against the Palestinian Authority, was the most significant outcome of the US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s four-state visit to the Middle East this week.

President Joe Biden’s top diplomat also announced immediate support for reconstruction in Gaza, while maintaining strong support for Israel. Yet Blinken has not proposed new peace talks, nor has he engaged with Hamas, which the US and Israel still deem to be a terrorist organisation. Instead, his quick tour through Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman was mainly focused on consolidating the ceasefire. If it helps, good, but it still does nothing to address the underlying issues. Continue reading

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‘Critical First Step’ But ‘Long Overdue’: Biden Repeals Trump Sanctions on the ICC

“Trump’s sanctions set a dangerous precedent for attacks on victims, lawyers, human rights advocates, and courts.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2021

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda speaking at the Oslo Forum in 2014. Photo: Stine Merethe Eid/CC

Progressives in Congress and human rights organizations on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s repeal of sanctions on the International Criminal Court imposed under former President Donald Trump in a bid to pressure the Hague-based tribunal to not investigate alleged U.S. and Israeli crimes.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a statement that President Joe Biden revoked Trump’s Executive Order 13928, “ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the court.” Continue reading

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US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years, New CODEPINK Research Reveals

The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence as an independent nation, fighting in 227 years of its 244-year history.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-5-2021 by MintPress News

Saddam Hussein’s former castle in Mosul, 2019. Photo: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK.

Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. Continue reading

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Number of Journalists Murdered in Retaliation for Their Work More Than Doubled in 2020: Report

“The fact that murder is on the rise and the number of journalists imprisoned around the world hit a record is a clear demonstration that press freedom is under unprecedented assault.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-22-2020

Graphic: Committee to Protect Journalists

In what one leading advocate called “a failure by the international community,” the number of journalists murdered in retaliation for their work more than doubled in 2020, according to a report published Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

CPJ’s annual report contains a database of 30 journalists who were killed in 15 countries during the course of the year. Of these, six died while working “dangerous assignments,” three were caught in the crossfire during the ongoing Syrian civil war, and 21 were murdered. Continue reading

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The US is so desperate to leave Afghanistan that it’s abandoning its allies

A hasty withdrawal puts the Afghan government and NATO in the emboldened Taliban’s firing line.

By Paul Rogers.  Published 12-4-2020 by openDemocracy

Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley | Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II, DOD, CC BY 2.0

The United States responded to the 9/11 attacks by terminating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and quashing al-Qaida. At the time there was widespread domestic support for the action and most allied states were also in agreement, at least at first. A few analysts were more cautious and the openDemocracy view at the time was that al-Qaida wanted a war, to show how significant it was but also to trap Western forces in Afghanistan and drag the United States down in much the same way as Soviet Union had been in the 1980s.

Now, there are signs that precisely that is happening, with the Afghan government and the Taliban agreeing to an outline of how negotiations on a peace settlement might be achieved. This comes after two months of talks in Qatar that have really been between the United States and the Taliban. The main topic of the talks was the withdrawal of all uniformed US forces by next May in return for a Taliban ceasefire and a pledge from Taliban leadership that they would not allow al-Qaida or ISIS to maintain a presence in the country. Continue reading

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‘Iran in the Crosshairs?’ Reports of Secret Meeting Between Netanyahu, MbS, and Pompeo Spark Fears of War Plot

“It is extremely alarming that the warmongers most reliant on Trump’s blank checks are secretly meeting in the middle of the night as the clock nearly runs out on the Trump administration.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-23-2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Ben Gurion airport in Israel, on November 18, 2020. The secretary was greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman and the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Protocol Gil Haskel. Photo: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/flickr

The alarming possibility of a military attack on Iran—a nation that has long been in the sights of war hawks in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel—was immediately invoked by foreign policy analysts Monday following reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in secret late Sunday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

First divulged by unnamed Israeli officials and publicly denied Monday morning by the Saudi foreign minister, the reported covert meeting in Neom, Saudi Arabia comes on the heels of news last week that U.S. President Donald Trump asked his senior advisers for options to bomb Iran’s primary nuclear energy site, prompting Iran to vow a “crushing response” to any attack. Continue reading

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‘Absolutely Sickening’: US Military Buys Location Data Harvested From Apps, Including One for Muslim Prayers

“The military industrial complex and the surveillance state have always had a cozy relationship with tech. Buying bulk data in order to profile Muslims is par for the course for them,” says Rep. Ilhan Omar.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2020

Reporting by Motherboard on Monday sparked alarm over the U.S. military buying location data harvested from mobile phone applications. Photo: Massive News

“Holy hell… This is absolutely unacceptable.” “Quite wild.” “Grotesque.” “Absolutely sickening.” “This should be illegal.”

Those were just some of the alarmed reactions to reporting by Joseph Cox for Motherboard on Monday that “the U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps.” Continue reading

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